CleanCapital in the Community

  • May 30, 2023
  • /
  • Jaden Brown, Sierra Haney, Eva Grunblatt

In March 2023, Jaden Brown, Sierra Haney, and Eva Grunblatt visited Adjuntas, Puerto Rico to help construct and install solar systems for communities in need. In this blog, they share their experience. 

At CleanCapital, we’re focused on investing in solar and storage projects to advance the clean energy transition. That’s why we jumped at the opportunity to participate in physically constructing the very thing we invest in to make a life-changing impact in the community. In March of 2023, we were lucky to partner with Let’s Share the Sun (LSTS) Foundation to travel to Adjuntas, Puerto Rico and experience making a difference for the community and so much more.

LSTS is a non-profit organization that collaborates with local communities to identify, organize, develop, and install solar energy in impoverished communities across Haiti, Honduras, and Puerto Rico that are rich in solar resources. By partnering with the local community, as well as key players in the renewable energy industry, LSTS is able to install systems that prevent the energy intermittency that often accompanies extreme weather in these areas. 

Bringing Solar to Adjuntas

Using solar panels donated by BQ Energy, a subsidiary of CleanCapital, LSTS partnered with a local installer, SOL De La Montaña, to install PV plus storage systems for ten homes in the Alto de Cuba neighborhood of Adjuntas. Each system consisted of six panels and four deep cycle batteries, for a total system size of 1.68 kWdc with 500 Ah of storage. Rooftops were a mix of sloped corrugated metal and flat concrete roofs. This trip marked the completion of 20 out of the 39 total systems LSTS has planned for installation by the end of summer 2023.

In Adjuntas, LSTS partners with Casa Pueblo – a grassroots organization dedicated to protecting the town’s natural, cultural, and human resources. Together, LSTS and Casa Pueblo strive to make Adjuntas 100% solar, beginning with those most in need. The first ten homes to receive the solar plus storage systems in 2022 had specific medical needs requiring a reliable power source. To start our trip, we visited those homes and heard directly from the families about how the solar systems have impacted them in the last year. Needless to say, their testimonies were truly inspiring as was their hospitality in welcoming us into their homes. The same goes for the families we met and those who received the installations on this trip.

To perform the installations, a group of 20+ volunteers was split up into multiple teams. One team focused on staging equipment and running tools between houses while the other teams were responsible for installing the racking, mounting the panels and hardware, and running the conduit and cabling into the home. While the volunteer teams carried out a majority of the rooftop work, SOL De La Montaña’s crew focused on wiring up the inverters and battery backup systems to the grid. Members from each team were able to rotate responsibilities to gain exposure to various aspects of the installation depending on their interests and comfort level on the rooftops. Understanding that the volunteers all had different backgrounds, the local installation crew was incredibly patient and eager to share their knowledge.

A Time to Remember

The trip was a rewarding experience on so many levels: professionally, personally, and culturally. The LSTS group represented several companies across the solar industry and included professionals from a variety of backgrounds and expertise. Most networking opportunities don’t involve pouring sweat while hauling heavy materials onto rooftops, so by the end of the trip we’d built strong friendships with our industry colleagues. It was also encouraging to see so many companies who value this type of work come together to make an immediate impact on a community.

“The LSTS trip was a great opportunity to learn the impact solar can have and connect with solar professionals as well locals utilizing solar to improve lives in their community.”  – Eva Grunblatt, BQ Energy

We left enriched and inspired to continue promoting the sense of community we felt in Adjuntas, and we look forward to continuing our efforts to enable equitable access to clean energy that furthers the energy transition.