EnergyWatch

Storm-ravaged Caribbean eyes solar, but it won't come cheap

After power outages caused by hurricanes, the Caribbean islands are looking towards more resilient, solar-powered electric systems. However, transforming their grids will prove expensive.

Photo: DEWA

For Caribbean islands plunged into darkness after hurricanes Irma and Maria, more resilient, small-scale electric systems powered by the sun are looking increasingly attractive. Transforming a grid, though, isn't cheap.

In making the case for so-called microgrids, environmental nonprofit Rocky Mountain Institute pointed to solar installations on the Turks and Caicos islands that remained largely intact while the local utility reported more than 1,200 poles down. That was the case on Richard Branson's Necker Island, too. Even Bruce Walker, the nominee to lead the Energy Department’s electricity office, hailed Puerto Rico's devastated grid as an opportunity to test technologies that'll make it more resilient to storms.

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