ToolBank Disaster Services teams up with SonLight Power to build Solar Panels to Puerto Rico

Ojo de Agua, Puerto Rico (March 9, 2022)ToolBank Disaster Services (TDS) Puerto Rico lead by Jaime Valle teamed up with a group of Cincinnati-based volunteers from SonLight Power. Our ToolBank team was introduced to SonLight Power by Cincinnati ToolBank’s executive director, Kat Pepmeyer. The group at SonLight expressed their interest in doing a project on the island and it was a natural fit for them to use our tools for this build. ToolBank tools were put to use at Iglesia del Nazareno Fuente de Vida installing solar panels with a team of Sophomore/Junior students and chaperone volunteers from Cincinnati Hill Christian Academy (CHCA). This church doubles as the community center for this small town and includes a computer room for local residents use.

The Solar Panels

The team of volunteers installed the 7 kW system with lithium battery packs to provide the church and community center with a power source for when they lose grid power. This solar panel system will also save them precious dollars on their utility bills. Due to the frequency of hurricanes passing through the island, the system had be designed to handle 150 mile per hour winds. Holes for the foundation were dug with hand tools – 18” wide, 4 feet deep, through a 12” layer of limestone. These young volunteers definitely put in a hard day’s work digging those holes with ToolBank shovels!

This project was brought about by SonLight Power after Hurricane Maria devastated the island a few years ago…COVID prevented some travel after that hurricane, but here we are in 2022 continuing our efforts on the island with great partners. The addition of these solar panels will dramatically help this local community of Ojo de Agua outside of Arecibo.

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