Insitituto Nueva Escuela

Insitituto Nueva Escuela

Instituto Nueva Escuela To Install Solar Plus Storage System to Ensure School Has Reliable Electricity

Following the devastation from Hurricane Maria, the non-profit Instituto Nueva Escuela (INE) did what community leaders do without hesitation – it began to rebuild to meet the needs of the schools and communities it serves. With a grant from All Points North Foundation, INE is working to provide reliable electricity to San Juan’s School Victor Parés Collazo and its 100 students (including its special needs youth), and their families, the majority of whom live under the poverty level.

Regarded as the worst natural disaster on record to affect Dominica and Puerto Rico, the hurricane also triggered the largest blackout in history. Although electricity has since been slowly restored, the grid supplying energy to the INE network of schools remains vulnerable. To avert another potential natural disaster in the future, INE began boldly developing a solar energy initiative for providing a more resilient energy system.

The solar plus storage system is designed to run the school’s critical loads such as lighting and refrigeration for over two hours in islanding mode. If the grid goes down, the school will continue to receive electricity. During the day, the school can run loads with a 30kW solar PV system while still being able to sufficiently recharge the batteries. The design allows for expandable storage should the school see a need for more autonomy in the future. The provision also enables the school to serve as a community center for distributing aid and providing shelter during future natural disasters. On top of its resiliency factor, the solar system is estimated to produce over 41,000 kWh annually of clean electricity.

While the disaster has left an indelible imprint on the lives of many, more than a year later INE is intent on ensuring its schools are equipped with a more resilient grid.  The catastrophic event has not dampened INE’s spirit as it remains focused on its primary mission of quality education and “to achieve peace in Puerto Rico through an excellent school for all.”

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Photo credit: Insitituto Nueva Escuela

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All Points North Foundation provides grants for U.S.-based projects and initiatives that support our priorities: improving public middle school education and teacher training, and implementing effective solar programs and/or projects.

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