Footprint Project, a Minneapolis-based nonprofit whose mission is to provide clean energy to communities in crisis, recently joined Rent.Solar on a trip to Louisiana to help those hardest hit by Hurricane Ida . The two brought 4 solar trailers and 60 portable charging stations with them. The mobile solar unit is paired with battery storage to create microgrids that supply the relief measures currently on site with electricity. This is fantastic!
I actually spoke to the Footprint team about their work and that will be published after this article.
While the whole world is tweeting what to do, my brother @ RichardBirt9 gets on a plane, drives a truck and installs with @lightempowered and @FootprintPrjct https://t.co/SG97vzAtaa. a solar system in New Orleans
– Marco Krapels (@KrapelsMarco) September 7, 2021
The two companies determined they were ready to post to Louisiana from the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tennessee, which was suddenly canceled due to Ida. After the storm left Louisiana, it moved north and Tennessee was one of several states on its way.
Will Heegaard, Operations Director at Footprint Project, said: “We followed Ida at the store in Bonnaroo and immediately started developing a strategy on how we could still fulfill our festival contract.” Both of them had program and rental contracts with Bonnaroo this year, and the Event announced the cancellation just two days after Ida's landing in Port Fourchon.
The solar and battery systems used were manufactured by Tesla. Richard Birt, who came across the Footprint Project and Light Empowered on the trip, pointed out that these systems are a matter of life and death for the New Orleans communities. I can confirm this as I was also without electricity. Even though it's only been three days, 140 ° F isn't a game in your house. In my case, I was lucky enough to have clean running water. Many in southern Louisiana do not have access to clean water and were told it would be weeks before they would get electricity again. Destroying these solar systems will save lives.
“While it is incredibly unfortunate for everyone involved that the festival couldn't take place this year, the real reason we do our job with such speed and agility is the ability to get to communities in need of critical energy,” said Heegaard. Footprint has been in New Orleans since Friday, September 3, and has powered the New Orleans Veterans of Foreign Wars, who are distributing 500 meals a day to the community.
It was an honor to manage communications for @FootprintPrjct over the #LaborDay weekend while @FootprintPrjct was busy doing the heavy lifting in the field. #BuildBackGreener pic.twitter.com/95eYPTl6MU
– Ethan Lipman (@etlipman) September 7, 2021
It also operates Imagine Water Works, which runs the Louisiana Mutual Aid Response Group. The organization is currently compiling a list of sites that need the performance to be triaged and has prioritized that list based on the need for service. It also procures additional solar equipment from industrial partners across the country.
Footprint Project will deploy the mobile microgrids throughout the area. Community centers, medical centers, and fire stations will benefit from the microgrids. Community partners have identified parking lots and street corners as areas of high demand for cell phone charging, medical and mobility devices, and battery sharing.
“We are incredibly grateful to all of our partners and supporters for helping us get greener again in Louisiana,” said Heegaard. In a video that is part of her picture and video gallery, Heegaard explained what type of solar panels they used for Imagine Water Works.
He explained that this was the second solar generator setup and that the two 50 watt portable solar panels were identical to a different freezer setup. It contained a small 20-inch charge controller donated by Zamp Solar. The charge controller, which is plugged into the solar modules, supplies an 830 kWh battery case that was placed in the shade. This system was able to command the laptop and their cell phones that evening. This is just one of the many systems they have put in place to help the community.
The DER Task Force joined the organizations by launching a fundraiser on GoFundMe with the original goal of raising $ 50,000. That increased to $ 75,000 as more than $ 61,000 was raised. The funds will enable Footprint Project to deploy the mobile microgrids in New Orleans and the communities hardest hit by Ida. I have donated and I encourage everyone who wants to help to donate too. SolHomes, Scale Microgrid Solutions, CPower Energy Management, and Brooklyn SolarWorks are just a few companies that donated to this fundraiser.
When our power was still out, I sat with my neighbors listening to a solar-powered radio broadcasting Governor Edwards' press conference. He said we would get through this and that we have to be good neighbors to one another. That's something he always talks about – being a good neighbor to his fellow citizens. Other states, communities and organizations are also good neighbors.
It is moments like these that give hope to humanity as a whole. Yes, we have bad people who hurt others, but there are good people who come from a place of love and act on those intentions – they try to be a positive influence and help others. That's what a good neighbor is all about.
Related Story: “The Tesla Community Helped Feed Over 150 Baton Rouge Families Affected by Hurricane Ida”
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