Liberty donates hotspots to Solar Responders to install at fire stations
Liberty Mobile recently donated 19 hotspots with 5G mobile internet to nonprofit organization Solar Responders, to give power resiliency to fire stations throughout the island with solar energy.
“After Hurricane Fiona, these fire stations were able to keep working thanks to the solar energy systems that Solar Responders installed after Hurricane María,” said Naji Khoury, CEO of Liberty Communications.
“So, when they approached us to be a part of this initiative, we didn’t hesitate because first responders need to have a reliable system when electric power goes out, as it happened again recently with Fiona,” he said.
The hotspots will help fire stations in Yauco, Guánica, Ponce, Utuado, Lares, Rincón, San Sebastián, Peñuelas, Adjuntas, Cataño, Loíza, Humacao, San Juan, Naguabo, Las Marías, Castañer, Culebra and Vieques to operate optimally the solar generation systems that Solar Responders had installed in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria five years ago.
Liberty Mobile is offering both the equipment and internet service to the fire stations for free.
“These hotspots are crucial so the solar power equipment we installed in these fire stations can perform at its best, especially given the fragility of the island’s power grid,” said Hunter Johansson, Solar Responder’s founder and CEO.
“The hotspots and the internet access will allow the firefighters to manage their energy consumption so our solar and battery storage systems can serve the stations for longer periods of time,” he said.
“Both power and communications are critical for first responders to save lives. We’re immensely grateful to Liberty Mobile for their donation so we can make this happen for the island’s first responders,” Johansson said.
During the day, the solar panels Solar Responders installed provide power to the fire station and charge the batteries. At night and during periods of low light, the batteries provide power to the station. When there is little or no sunlight, firefighters manage their energy consumption so that the batteries can last longer.
The hotspots’ internet, along with a tablet application, helps the firefighters monitor and manage their energy consumption at the fire station so they will have power when the grid goes out, he said.
Solar Responders is a New York-based nonprofit organization that seeks to maximize the capacity of first responders’ to save lives with renewable energy. The organization was founded in 2019 in response to Puerto Rico’s energy crisis in the aftermath of Hurricane María.
Since then, Solar Responders has helped 19 fire stations around Puerto Rico with renewable energy equipment that has produced over 1,500 hours of backup power and served 335,000 people on the island.
In addition to this effort with Solar Responders, Liberty has provided similar equipment to nonprofit organizations that are serving Hurricane Fiona survivors.
The telecommunications company also took charging and connectivity stations to locations that were hardest hit by the hurricane and handed basic need items in towns in the South and West, along with Liberty Foundation.