Ponce Central Fire Station outfitted with $150K solar panel system
The Ponce Central Fire Station has been outfitted with a new solar panel system, representing a combined investment of $150,000 by Solar Responders, Plaza Del Caribe Foundation, Church’s Chicken and Zona Libre del Sur.
The system will ensure that firefighters and paramedics at this station continue to operate and respond to emergencies when power is interrupted, alliance representatives said.
Hunter Johansson, CEO of Solar Responders, a New York-based nonprofit that manages solar energy at 19 Fire Department Bureau stations, said that the recent blackout in once again demonstrated the dire need for investment in innovative technology solutions and public-private partnerships to power first responder stations in Puerto Rico.
“With the start of hurricane season five weeks away, we must do everything we can to ensure Puerto Rico’s first responder stations have the power they need to save lives,” he said.
This station provides services, supports, and coordinates the emergency response to 10 surrounding municipalities — Yauco, Guánica, Peñuelas, Guayanilla, Adjuntas, Jayuya, Juana Díaz, Villalba, Guayama and Ponce — with a combined population of more than 150,000 people. The station has some 60 firefighters.
This system consists of 66 panels and 24 lithium-ion batteries that will give 26.4 kW of solar and 91.2 kWh of storage to the station. If there is any interruption in the electrical grid, the fire station will not be affected so that it can continue to receive and respond to emergency calls. The solar system also enables a reduction in consumption from the power-grid, carbon emissions, and energy costs.
“After Hurricane María, our stations were left without electricity service and we turned to electric generators to do our job and respond to the emergency; we were always present,” said Fire Department Commissioner Marcos Concepción.
“However, the installation of solar panels in our stations, this time Ponce, will help us to continue our operations without interruptions in future emergencies. I thank Solar Responders, Plaza Del Caribe Foundation, Church’s Chicken, Zona Libre del Sur, and all the organizations for their commitment to the Fire Department Bureau,” he said.
Meanwhile, Ponce Mayor Luis Irizarry-Pabón said “with all the events suffered by the Region in recent years, such as hurricanes, earthquakes and others, the installation of these panels in the station will bring relief to the citizens that In case of an emergency, they will be able to count on this station and its services of excellence.”