Around 2,500 customers still remain without electricity in Puerto Rico after Hurricane María made landfall on September 20. Reports state that it could take up to two more months to fully restore energy.
In “Solar Libre: Family Affair,” producer Melanie La Rosa takes the cameras to Hobost Beach in Isabela, Puerto Rico, to tell the story of Solar Libre Puerto Rico, a project working to bring electricity to those who were left without since the hurricane. The project started with a father’s phone call from Puerto Rico to his son in Brooklyn, and has already provided a town with electricity
“People would lay in hammocks. They would say things like where’s this place been all my life. And then suddenly comes this unprecedented meteorological nightmare known as Hurricane Maria. It was so overwhelming for all the government services,” Tom Meyers, owner of Las Dunas Guesthouse, says in the documentary, “We didn’t see anybody for at least two months, no police, no FEMA, no National Guard, no army.”
In the shory video, La Rosa explores how the Meyers family’s efforts to supply the town of Isabela with electricity succeeded despite challenges posted by institutions like the National Guard. Despite these obstacles, Tom Meyers and his son Walter have teamed up with solar panel vendors and friends to continue their mission to help Puerto Rico. Solar Libre Puerto Rico has been successful in installing over 70 emergency solar-powered systems on the island. Still, the road ahead is long.
“Holding onto to that optimism is a necessary objective,” says Jennifer Bolstad, a landscape architect involved with the project.
“Solar Libre: Family Affair” is part of La Rosa’s documentary “HOW TO POWER A CITY, stories from the front lines of the clean energy revolution.“