Puerto Rico to get power relief from German microgrid supplier


Sonnen GmbH, a German provider of energy-storage systems, is planning to install microgrids to provide electricity for at least 15 emergency relief centers in hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico.

Sonnen began delivering its storage systems to Puerto Rico last week and expects to deliver at least one shipment each week as the island’s ports reopen, the Wildpoldsried, Germany-based company said in an emailed statement Monday. It’s working with local partner Pura Energia, which installs solar panels with Sonnen batteries.

Puerto Rico’s electricity grid was completely knocked out when Hurricane Maria slammed into the island Sept. 20, and repairs are expected to take months. That’s generating interest in microgrids, small-scale systems that combine solar panels and batteries that can be installed quickly to restore power to a few buildings at a time. Tesla Inc. is sending hundreds of its Powerwall battery systems to the island, and Sunnova Inc., Puerto Rico’s largest rooftop solar provider, plans to install batteries to complement its systems.

“Our smart energy storage system is uniquely positioned to serve as a critical resource during the emergency in Puerto Rico,” Blake Richetta, the head of Sonnen’s U.S. unit, said in the statement.

Sonnen is donating equipment for the 15 relief centers. It also expects increased demand for its systems with Puerto Rico consumers and will donate profit from local sales to build as many as 35 additional microgrids on the island.

Sonnen has installed more than 20 storage systems in Puerto Rico since 2016 and has at least 90 more on order or on their way to the island. The batteries are produced at the company’s recently opened factory in Atlanta, and the first microgrids will be operating in less than a month.

“It is our duty to stand firmly with the people of Puerto Rico and do everything possible to help start the rebuilding process,” Chief Executive Officer Christoph Ostermann said in the statement. “There is a clear connection between our mission to support humanity during a climate disaster and our mission to fight climate change.”

Chris Martin

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