Over the next few days/weeks we are going to try something a little different to see how it works. We are going to highlight a project and explain where we came up with the idea and what went into the realization of the goals. In this way we are going to provide a deeper insight into how we decide what to do, who gets helped and when, and what goes into projects of this scale. If you would like to ask specific questions about the project or anything in the material we provide, please use the link below to contact us and we will endeavor to answer as many questions as possible.
Based on recent census data the median household income for a family in Vieques, Puerto Rico is $14,000 . Approximately 52% of the population lives below the poverty threshold set by the Department of Health and Human Services. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics the average price for a kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity around the U.S. in February 2020 was $0.134.
This was not the case in Puerto Rico. Due to the recent hurricanes and earthquakes the average price was an astonishing $0.267/kWh. This situation was untenable and needed to be addressed.
Edgar Ruiz, co-founder of Community Through Colors, decided that he would attempt to address these issues. While acting as the community liaison he managed most of the equipment acquisition, distribution, and installation. With assistance from Joe Siegel (project manager/financing/marketing lead), Lu Yoder, Kathy Gannet, Adrienn Lanczos, Beth Straight, and others, the Vieques Microgrid Project began.
We have been diligently working to address these needs as funds, equipment, and manpower become available. The Vieques Microgrid Project was designed to provide low/no cost electricity to an impoverished island that has historically been underserved while facing some of the most extreme natural disasters the world has to offer. Since the island lacks a hospital facility, systems were prioritized to first responders and people who relied on electrical medical equipment or refrigeration systems for medications.
There were several goals in mind. The initial goal was to provide sustainable energy stability to at-risk populations. With the electrical outages and expense of electricity rising man people were concerned that they would be without vital medical equipment such as nebulizers or a refrigerator for their insulin. The next goal was to provide people with electricity at a savings greater than 20% of their current bill. This was based on their utility bills from early 2020. With these, and other, goals in mind, equipment and locations being sourced, potential recipients being chosen, and a plan in place, the project could now begin in earnest.
 U.S. Census Bureau quickfacts: Puerto Rico. United States Census Bureau. (n.d.). Retrieved December 18, 2022, from https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/PR/PST045221