On Sept. 20, 2017, Hurricane Maria, the worst natural disaster on record to affect Puerto Rico, left people without homes or electricity. Eight months later, more than 1,000 households were still without power.
So, communities across the
island set out to find creative ways to generate electricity.
After the disaster, the
government of Puerto Rico committed to ambitious plans to transform its hurricane-battered electric grid to
rely entirely on renewable energy by 2050.
Google’s Project Sunroof
maps the solar potential for buildings, in an effort to support the world’s
transition to a renewable energy future. After the hurricane, we worked quickly
to integrate Project Sunroof data covering Puerto Rico with Sunrun, a residential solar, storage and energy services
Sunrun streamlined designs and
installations across local installers to offer solar-as-a-service and home
battery solutions to households, local fire stations and small businesses in
Puerto Rico. For example, Maximo Solar, one of the solar technology installers on the
west side of the island, used Project Sunroof data to support more than 100
Of the 44,000 Puerto Rico
rooftops that were surveyed by Project Sunroof, 90 percent of them were viable
for solar—showing the longer term opportunity for island residents to harness
renewable energy from the sun.
By identifying the best locations to install solar panels, Project Sunroof data puts actionable insights in the hands of communities working toward energy independence, enables critical cost savings and reduces some of the complexities in the installation process.
“Responding to any crisis of
the magnitude of Hurricane María is a complex endeavor, but Puerto Rico is a
powerful example of how communities can respond rapidly to deploy solutions
that improve and protect the livelihood of people,” Project Sunroof officials stated.
“When put in the hands of local
installers, solar information for Puerto Rico helped meet the urgent short term
need for electricity and the movement towards a long-term renewable energy
future. Our work on Project Sunroof demonstrates one of Google’s many ongoing
efforts to continue investing for the benefit of Puerto Rican residents and
economic recovery efforts on the island,” executives added.