Following two devastating hurricanes, American citizens in Puerto Rico could face up to six months without power. A collective of Chicago clean energy organizations has banded together to respond to this challenge and is appealing to the public to help sponsor safe, renewable light to families in need.

Chicago-based LuminAID is working with nonprofit partners to distribute solar lanterns, including models with phone chargers, to families in Puerto Rico. A $10 pledge covers the cost of one solar lantern and can be made by visiting luminaid.com/Chicago4PR. During the month of October, solar lantern sponsorships will be matched up to $10,000 by Chicago’s Hanley Foundation, Invenergy and the Invenergy Future Fund.

“It’s hard to imagine living without power for days, weeks, months. Here’s a simple, inexpensive way to offer families some comfort and safety. We’re working to send thousands of solar lanterns and phone chargers to Puerto Rico as fast as possible,” said Amanda Hanley, CoFounder and CoDirector of Hanley Foundation.

 

Graphic from 10/12/17 Washington Post article “Most of Puerto Rico has been in the dark for 23 days, 4 hours and 33 minutes”

 

The Hanley Foundation and Invenergy, North America’s largest, privately-held renewable energy company, became familiar with LuminAID as sponsors of the Clean Energy Trust Challenge, an annual competition that is the premier accelerator for cleantech startups in the Midwest. Lights sponsored in the matched campaign will be distributed to affected families by disaster relief partners such as Convoy of Hope, a nonprofit distributing aid to Puerto Rico and islands across the Caribbean.

“With increasing calls for renewable energy and resilient rebuilding on the island, we hope to provide some real relief that’s sustainable, too. Hours of safe, bright light. No fuel or batteries needed,” stated Amy Francetic, Invenergy’s Senior Vice President of New Ventures & Corporate Affairs.

With the power grid largely destroyed, an estimated 85 percent of Puerto Rico’s 3.4 million residents are without power today.

Coming to the aid of disaster victims is exactly why graduate students Anna Stork and Andrea Sreshta created LuminAID lanterns. The inflatable solar device provides hours of light charged by the sun. And now an integrated phone charger can help people stay in contact with family members and relief services. Their invention won a top prize at the 2013 Clean Energy Trust Challenge in Chicago, and helped them close a deal with Mark Cuban on Shark Tank in 2015.

 

LuminAID distribution partner Convoy of Hope helps a family in Houston following Hurricane Harvey.

 

To date, more than 22,000 LuminAID lights have been pledged for households without power in Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Caribbean islands, Texas, Florida and Mexico. Chicago-based energy utility company ComEd has sponsored 5,000 LuminAID solar lanterns that are already on their way to the island. Several other non-profits including the Clean Energy Trust, Faith in Place, Go Green Illinois and the Natural Resources Defense Council, will partner in promoting the Windy City campaign.

 

TO DONATE OR LEARN MORE, visit luminaid.com/Chicago4PR.

 

Recent headlines further compelling us to help:

Tesla just brought solar to a hospital in Puerto Rico. The rest of the island won’t be as easy – Vox 10/26/17

Volunteers are tired. Where’s our government in Puerto Rico? – Houston Chronicle 10/25/17

In Puerto Rico, Surgery by Flashlight Is Just the Beginning: Life Without electricity is Dangerous.– Slate 10/23/17

Let Them Eat Paper TowelsNew York Times 10/12/17

Trump Threatens to Abandon Puerto Rico Recovery Effort The Washington Post 10/12/17

84 Percent of Puerto Rico Still Doesn’t Have PowerNew York Times 10/10/17

Puerto Rico has Received Millions Less in Donations than the MainlandVice 10/08/17

Satellite Images of Puerto Rico Before and After Hurricane Maria Put Massive Power Outage Into Perspective – Bustle 10/06/17

The UnAmerican Dream: Puerto Rico’s Eye-Popping Economic Situation, in charts  – Quartz 9/30/17 (More than 40% of Puerto Ricans live below the US poverty line. Puerto Rico’s unemployment rate is 10%, compared to 4.4% in the US mainland)

Solar Competitors Band Together to Help Bring Electricity to Storm-Ravaged Puerto Rico  – CNBC 10/09/17 (good news!)

 

About LuminAID

When we think of our most basic human needs, we often think of food, water and shelter. But when architecture graduate students Anna Stork and Andrea Sreshta were asked to design a product to assist post-earthquake relief efforts in Haiti, they considered the dangerous conditions at night in the tent cities and turned their attention to another critical need: light. They designed the LuminAID light to be easily distributed in time of need by packing and shipping flat.

In 2015, Anna and Andrea went on the hit TV show Shark Tank, and wowed the “Sharks” so much that they got offers from every Shark! They accepted an offer from Mark Cuban, and he was the company’s first investor.

About LuminAID’s Relief Programs

Through LuminAID’s Give Light Get Light program, supports sponsor solar lanterns that are distributed by non-profit partners. Supporters can choose to Donate a Light, and pledge $10 to sponsor a solar lantern for a family in need. They can also choose the Give Light Get Light package to purchase a LuminAID light for themselves and sponsor another lantern to be distributed by one of LuminAID’s charitable partners. Over 100,000 lights have been provided to those in need through relief programs, and LuminAID lights are in use in over 100 countries around the world. LuminAID has been working with nonprofit partners to provide lights to Syrian refugees for the past two years, and is currently focusing on disaster relief for those affected by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria.

 

See LuminAID lights in action in Haiti.

 

About Hanley Foundation

The Hanley Foundation supports a range of initiatives to advance a stable climate, the transition to a clean energy economy, and environmental education here in Chicago and around the globe.

About Invenergy

Invenergy drives innovation in energy. Invenergy and its affiliated companies develop, own, and operate large-scale renewable and other clean energy generation and storage facilities in the Americas, Europe and Asia. Invenergy’s home office is located in Chicago and it has regional development offices in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Japan, Poland and Scotland.

Invenergy and its affiliated companies have developed more than 16,000 megawatts of projects that are in operation, construction or contracted, including wind, solar, natural gas-fueled power generation and energy storage projects.

About Invenergy’s Future Fund

The Invenergy Future Fund invests in innovators using technology to make energy more affordable, reliable, and secure.

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