Access to reliable energy is critical after a natural disaster and these four locations provide free solar-powered refrigeration and charging stations for medical equipment and communication devices.
Although residents of Rincón may have stocked up on food and water supplies before Hurricane Maria, very few were prepared to be cut off from basic communications and to live without electricity for the months that followed. Rincoeños requiring electronic medical support were stuck relying on home generators (and the days-long gasoline lines to refuel them) or went without access to power, treatments or medications.
In the weeks following the hurricane, it became apparent that rebuilding the electrical infrastructure would be an enormous undertaking. The situation for Rincoeños was exacerbated by a nearly complete lack of communications as the cellular networks were destroyed by the storm.
News trickled out despite lack of reliable communication and soon stateside family and friends were getting involved in the relief efforts. One such effort was the Yo Quiero Puerto Rico Relief Fund.
The relief fund was created from a GoFundMe campaign, immediately set up just days after the hurricane and quickly surpassed its original goal of $75,000. Aside from supporting the creation of the community solar hotspots, other endeavors included bringing critical medical supplies to Costa Salud, with the help of AFYA and distributing over 4,000 solar lanterns in collaboration with Watts of Love.
The campaign consisted of three phases, where the first phase involved the distribution of the solar lanterns, the second phase created the four solar hot spots and the third phase is a solar powered emergency satellite internet communication station.
The community solar hotspots were set up at businesses or locations that attend the public known for their capacity to assist in the time of crisis. These locations serve as convergence centers for community members to meet, share news and distribute supplies. The custodians of the hotspots underwent a training workshop in the maintenance of the solar system, provided by solar expert Robert Wylie Hyde from ¡Solar Libre! and have agreed to serve as first responders in the event of a natural crisis or extended power outage. Each location has regular operating hours while some offer extended hours during times of crisis. A Rinconvenient Truth visited each location and confirmed they are open, operating and ready for hurricane season or any other unforeseen crisis event.
Use the map above to explore the locations. Click on the name within the map to be directed to Google Maps
Calle 8, Rincón
American Legion Bo. Pueblo Calle Nuevo Final, Rincón
Aguada, next to Eileen's Bakery
Carr 115 KM 19
Carr 412 KM 4.8, Rincón
These community hot spots are ready for use any time the electric grid is unavailable, including random outages unrelated to natural disasters. Share, download and print this contact sheet to be storm ready. These hot spots are available for all Rincoeños.