Adsactly Tech News: Renewable Energy Efforts and Puerto Rico
In this article I would like to discuss something amazing taking place in Puerto Rico as we speak. A man named Jehu Jehu Garcia has been labelled the 'king of renewable energy' and is making real progress there trying to restore power and get people up and running in a more sustainable way regarding electricity.
Garcia never really expected to become an expert working with Lithium-ion batteries, it just sort of turned out that way. He started out as a Youtuber in California running a small photography accessories company.
He had a passion for photography and was content working with cameras and making videos as well as selling accessories. “I didn’t want to be known as the battery guy,” Garcia stated when asked about his new reputation as the guy who makes custom powerwalls.
Everything changed for him in 2015. You see, this was the year that Elon Musk showed the world his plans for the future, he gave everyone a preview at the brand new, Tesla Powerwall.
If you've never heard of the powerwall, its basically a suitcase-sized battery specifically made for homeowners that would like to store electricity. It can be charged in two ways, either from the main power grid or from solar panels.
The device represented an impressive step forward in alternative energy technology, but it started at $3,000 and could only store 10 KWh of electricity, or about a third the average American household consumes in a day.
Whenever a large company releases a new technology, smaller companies follow its market adoption and if it makes sense, they imitate and build on what is already popular.
Because the Tesla powerwall was a big hit with a lot of consumer demand, battery hobbyists building their own DIY powerwalls.
These DIY battery hobbyists began collecting and using recycled laptop batteries. They realized they could hook them up to solar panels and charge their customers a fraction of the cost that the designer Tesla wall would have cost them.
Now that they had a more affordable, high quality alternative, it was time to advertise.
They spend a large amount of resources, time and energy collaborating with others on YouTube, Facebook, and online forums to swap techniques and find out where to buy supplies.
Of course, this is where Garcia really made a name for himself. His instructional YouTube videos, became some of best internet resources available for fellow DIY powerwall enthusiasts.
One thing that makes even more sense is that Garcia got his start with electrical engineering almost two years before the Powerwall was announced when he converted a vintage Volkswagen bus to run on an electric battery instead of gasoline.
He was however inspired by Tesla, and already had some basic knowledge of Lithium-ion batteries, which are extremely important in the manufacturing of cellphones, laptops and Powerwalls.
But here's where the story gets really good. It turns out that Garcia has bigger ambitions than simply running his own company and being a popular YouTube celebrity. This guy has a heart of gold. He recently has made a lot of effort as a community leader dedicated to changing the world through education about sustainable and renewable energy sources.
One of his biggest ambitions is helping people to become more self sufficient and prove to everyone that we don’t need to be exploited by monopolistic power companys and we certainly don't need a corporation or nonprofit to get us off the grid. With a bit of work and training, we can do this ourselves!
One thing I really admire about Garcia is the fact that he has gotten to where he is today not by going to school and receiving formal education but by educating himself!
He didn't even step one foot inside a professional engineering class! Furthermore, it wasn't like he had this profession handed to him. He grew up in a very poor town and was brought over the border from Mexico as a child.
He didn't have the luxury of going to college. Everything he has he had to work for and work hard. With this type of background it actually makes a lot of sense. Garcia is a real worker and he has been doing it his whole life!
So lets get to the end of this story then shall we?
Last month Garcia traveled to a place completely devastated and for the most part without power. The place I'm talking about is in dire need of assistance and would benefit immensely from alternative sources of energy. I'm sure you can guess, the place I'm talking about is Puerto Rico.
If you are not familar with what happened there in September 2017, let me fill you in a bit on that.
Puerto Rico sustained incredible amounts of damage as it was struck by Hurricane Maria. This was a category 5 storm which is about as bad as it gets in terms of hurricanes. Maria destroyed crucial infrastructure on the island and killed hundreds of people.
According to Garcia, he said that he was able to raise $30,000 and $40,000 via donations to bring small powerwalls and solar panels to over 30 families so far without power on the island. Great job Garcia!
Even though this is amazing news and his efforts have made the lives of many of Puerto Rico's citizens a lot better, its tragic that the majority of Puerto Rico’s 3.4 million residents are presumed to still be without electricity. I say this in shock because it has been nearly three months after Maria struck.
Garcia has a heart of gold and a very positive mindset. He believes that we all have a bright future powered by alternative energy ahead of us. “I think it’s an opportunity much more than a tragedy,” he said, referring to the island’s power crisis.
His goal is to show people how valuable and cost effective it is to create renewable energy with solar panels and recycled batteries on the island. It is also his hope that Puerto Rico and the rest of the world will be paying attention and decide to make further investments in solar power in the coming years and decades. “I think if people see it, if industry sees it, it’s going to be the first part of the US where the future starts.”
What do you guys think about Garcia's story and what he was able to accomplish for Puerto Rico? Do you think governments (specifically the U.S. government because its a territory of theirs...) are doing enough to help the people there?
Please leave your thoughts and feedback below!
Thanks for reading.
Written by @techblogger
The YouTuber Who Is Redefining Renewable Energy - Vice
Tesla begins alerting 1st general US Powerwall customers, installations starting in June - Electrek
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