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Help bring solar power to hurricane hit Puerto Rico

Monday, 6 November, 2017

PHYSICIST, author and fellow of Schumacher College Fritjof Capra has launched a fundraising bid to buy solar electricity units for people in Puerto Rico suffering from the devastating effects of Hurricane Maria.

Together with engineer Indira Cortez and producer and designer Elizabeth Hawk he has formed Barrio Solar, an organisation which  hopes to raise $25,000 through crowdfunding to buy off-grid solar technologies and lighting units for remote communities on the archipelago and the barrios of San Juan.

Hundreds of thousands of homes were devastated when the area was hit by the Category 5 storm on September 18 and estimates of the death toll have ranged between 100 and 600.   Six weeks later over three million people are still without power.  

Fritjof now hopes that college alumni from around the world can help them in their fundraising bid:   “We at Barrio Solar are proud to be among the many to bring fossil fuel independence to the island of Puerto Rico via solar technologies, and we are excited to be part of these self-organizing solar support networks,” says Fritjof. 

The Barrio Solar team has developed a large network of distribution points on the island in partnership with Puerto Rico-based women’s organization Paz para la Mujer.   If the team ia successful in their fundraising bid, they hope to have the units installed in emergency shelters, community centres and homes by the first week of December.

CENSA, the Center for the Studies of the Americas in Berkley is serving as the organization’s financial sponsor and will oversee the distribution of funds once the crowdfunding goal is met. In addition, Barrio Solar plans to host a benefit concert to raise awareness and  funds to continue supporting rural communities throughout Puerto Rico and the barrios of San Juan, and to set up permanent offices for Barrio Solar in the United States and in Puerto Rico.

The concert is due to be held in Oakland, California in March 2018 and will feature jazz and blues musicians from the around the Bay Area of San Franciso along with special Puerto Rican guests.  Barrio Solar is an all-volunteer initiative comprised of educators, engineers, entrepreneurs, and entertainment industry veterans.  For more information about Barrio Solar, you can visit the website at http://www.barriosolar.org/ or follow them on Twitter.