To address both the need for increased energy independence in Puerto Rico and a strengthened education system, Putnam Bridge Funding (PBF) commits to fully transition Marina Puerto Del Rey to operate on solar power and invest a portion of the energy cost savings generated into the Padre Rufo School, a leading public school in San Juan. Through this initiative, PBF commits to re-investing $100,000 of energy savings for the next three years into the Padre Rufo School. The Padre Rufo School will be a key partner in this commitment, giving access to training opportunities for its teachers and exposing its students to content and projects on urban sustainability.
More specifically, the savings generated from Marina Puerto Del Rey’s solar farm will be invested into an endowment account that will manage the financial and tangible resources being donated to the school. This will be managed by Putnam Bridge Funding. The first year of the project will focus on implementing key infrastructure upgrades to the school, including new and energy efficient air conditioners, an improved sewer and electrical system, and a new technology room with computers and state of the art facilities. The second year of the program will focus on introducing an agricultural studies program for students at school, and the third year of the program will focus on developing and operating an urban farm on the school grounds and adjacent park in partnership with Para La Naturaleza. The urban farm and sustainability program will teach the students through hands-on learning on how urban farms are developed, maintained, and their impact on the environment.
2018 - Q1 2019: Complete the full solarization of Marina Puerto Del Rey. Anticipated launch date of March 1, 2019.
Q1 - Q3 2019: Establish the endowment that will manage the investment of energy savings into the Padre Rufo School. Sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Padre Rufo School. Develop urban sustainability initiative in partnership with school and partners Para La Naturaleza. .
Q2 - Q3 2019: Begin construction and installation of energy saving initiatives at Padre Rufo School. Installation of energy efficient air conditioners, state of the art computer room, improved sewer system, improved electrical system. Expected completion date of September 1, 2019.
Q3 - Q4 2019: Develop curriculum with Para La Naturaleza, teachers, and PBF for launch of curriculum in Q1 2020. Train teachers that will be participating in the program. Develop sustainable farm through curriculum generating synergy with development of park next to school. Expected launch of farm in late Q1 2020.
Q4 2019: Continue development of curriculum and purchase necessary items for sustainable farm.
Q1 - Q4 2020: Launch curriculum, measure and modify program offering and sustainability initiatives, continued maintenance of urban farm, provide materials and any support to developed program.
Q1 - Q4 2021: Continued modification of program offering and sustainability initiatives, continued maintenance of urban farm, provide materials and any support to developed program.
Prior to Hurricane Maria, there was a need for off-grid energy solutions, such as solar power, to ensure continuity of services in critical businesses that support the Puerto Rican economy and an independence from the poor electric infrastructure on the island. This need intensified after Hurricanes Irma and Maria, following which Marina Puerto Del Rey lost access to the grid for over 6 months.
Marina Puerto Del Rey is the largest marina in the Caribbean and one of the largest in the world. It is a full-service marina with 1,000 slips, over 600 drystack spaces, 250 hurricane tie downs, and over 35 acres of boatyard and land storage spaces. Marina Puerto Del Rey is one of the largest employers in the East of Puerto Rico with over 1,000 people working within the marina facilities. The marina has hotel accommodations, restaurant, deli-market, beauty salon, boat dealers, charters, and hundreds of service providers. Like many businesses on the island, the loss of access to the grid made it very difficult for the marina to continue day-to-day operations and affected hundreds of families who count on its employment in order to put food on the table.
In addition, investing in off-grid solutions can generate monetary savings that can then be channeled to broader community initiatives in the region, such as efforts to improve urban sustainability and local education. The island’s fiscal crisis and Hurricane Maria combined have had a significant effect on the public education system, leading to widespread school closures. Innovative collaboration between the private sector and public schools can lead to improved school infrastructure and educational opportunities for Puerto Rico’s youth.