Emergency Management Office

Vieques, puerto rico


background information

The Emergency Management Office of Vieques (OMME) serves as the primary dispatch center, ambulance bay, emergency planning, operations and coordination center for the island of Vieques.

Since Hurricane Maria severed the undersea electrical cable connecting Vieques to Puerto Rico’s main grid, the island has faced significant energy vulnerability. For more than a year, three 2MW diesel generators burned an est. 8,000 gallons of diesel every day to meet the islands energy needs. The undersea electrical cable was finally repaired in early 2019, but residents still face significant electrical outages.

Program Plan

Footprint Project (FP) is working with local community partners in Vieques to plan, scope, and install a mobile solar nanogrid. In line with this objective, FP is committing to design and build an emergency command center with a resilient 5kW solar array and a 20kWh battery bank to power essential loads for a remote operations center for the Vieques Emergency Management Office (OMME), including radio dispatch, communications, refrigeration, and lighting. The command center, a containerized solar plus storage solution, will be located at the primary community emergency shelter in Vieques, the Maria M. Simmons De Rivera School, and serve as a semi-permanent resilience hub and functional office space for OMME’s nine staff in the case of emergency.

Key activities for this project include:

  1. Partner Coordination: Bring implementing partners together for community needs assessments and strategy meetings.

  2. Energy Load Survey: Collect power audits, map demand, and review data.

  3. System Design: Select hybrid system to meet site energy loads with grid-tie capability for future integration.

  4. Material Procurement: Source donated materials as available; procure additional equipment as needed from local solar entrepreneurs.

  5. Installation: Contract local solar entrepreneurs to mount and install system.

  6. Maintenance Training: Collaborate with high schools, colleges, and job-training organizations, to build local capacity for monitoring and maintenance.

  7. Monitoring and Evaluation: Review program goals and outcomes with community members, report progress to donors.


Sept 2019

The trailer is on it’s way to San Juan!

July 2019

After discussing alternative site needs and system options with OMME, they have requested we pursue a towable system design that will allow their office to deliver resilient power flexibly on the island. Designs have been finalized and the trailer fabrication has commenced. We were hoping to find a fabricator in Puerto Rico capable of meeting the design needs and deadline, but were unsuccessful. We are looking at local fabrication options for future trailers.

May 2019

We received notice from local partners in Vieques that the Red Cross has begun installing a solar battery system on the Maria Simons Elementary School. We are re-evaluating program plans to avoid duplicating efforts.

FEB 2019

OMME’s Director and the Principal of Maria M. Simons Elementary School have agreed to place FP’s nanogrid next to the school’s kitchen. The Simons Elementary school is the sole designated shelter for the island of Vieques, and the nanogrid will be used in a dual capacity: 1) Office space for emergency response coordination for OMME; 2) Back-up resilient power for the school kitchen. The new site load requirements have changed the cost of the system build.

Jan 2019 - Community Solar Recovery Workshop

On January 16, 2019, community members, response officials and students gathered at the historic El Fortin in Vieques to discuss ways to integrate solar nanogrids into disaster recovery. Organized by Footprint, the workshop brought together representatives from local direct service organizations, government, international NGOs and universities to explore resilient power solutions for emergency preparedness and response. Community members provided input on initial nanogrid designs, location plans and deployment strategy.

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Nov 2018

FP learned from local partners that the City Council has decided to move OMME to a new building. Through discussion s with OMME’s Director, Hector Olivieri, FP has expanded the project’s scope to explore alternative nanogrid systems that can both meet disaster preparedness needs and accommodate future location changes. This project provides an opportunity to develop creative energy solutions that can flexibly serve future response and recovery operations.


Veteran Service Corps

Promise, South Dakota


background information

Veteran Service Corps (VSC) formed out of the Veterans for Standing Rock movement that assembled on the Standing Rock Reservation in December, 2016. After defending US citizens’ constitutional and human rights in the face of the Dakota Access Pipeline, tribal leadership invited VSC to steward and restore a twenty nine acre property in Promise, South Dakota.

In partnership with the Cheyenne River Lakota Nation and the tribal veterans, VSC works to improve environmental, educational, social and health outcomes for communities in which veterans live. Forty seven percent of the total population of the Cheyenne River Reservation are veterans of the United States Armed Forces.



Sustainability In Practice

Footprint’s 3kW solar array with 10kWh LI storage, (power for refrigeration, lighting, HVAC, and comms with sleeping, cooking and work space) was deployed to support VSC’s community resilience and pipeline prevention efforts. The solar shelter will be used to power local events, train communities on renewable energy, and respond to environmental emergencies.


Centro de Apoyo Mutuo - Community Kitchen

Caguas, Puerto Rico


background information

The Centro de Apoyo Mutuo is a community center currently located in the former buildings of the May Maria Montanez Gomez Elementary School, which has been closed and abandoned for more than 15 years. Eight days after Hurricane Maria, local community members began transforming it into a community center. Currently, the building houses a kitchen, community dining room, tool library, free medical clinic with acupuncture, medical storage and food storage rooms, and bathrooms.



Building Back Better

During site visits in March, the leaders of CAM Caguas reported significant challenges in maintaining reliable power. Prior to Footprint’s intervention, CAM Caguas used ten gallons of gasoline per day to power their kitchen’s generator. Coordinating with Solar Libre, Footprint solved CAM Caguas’ energy problem. On April 19, the day of an island-wide blackout, local partners installed an off-grid solar system (4 kW solar array, 12 kWh battery bank, 6 kWh inverter) to power their refrigerators and community kitchen.


Project Partners


Projecto de Apoyo Mutuo de Mariana

Humacao, Puerto Rico


background information

Born in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, the Proyecto de Apoyo Mutuo (Mutual Aid Project) provides direct, peer-to-peer resiliency services to residents in Humacao, Puerto Rico. Based in Mariana, a mountain community of 3,160 people, the Proyecto de Apoyo Mutuo (PAM) currently runs a distribution hub, farming cooperative and coworking space. The organization operates as part of ARECMA, a local non-profit with thirty-five years of experience organizing community events in Humacao and Yabucoa. PAM Mariana is part of a network of mutual aid recovery groups serving vulnerable populations across Puerto Rico.



Building Back Better

Footprint worked with Mutual Aid Disaster Relief and BoxPower to deploy a containerized solar microgrid (16kW solar array, 80kWh battery storage, 24kW back-up generator) to power PAM Mariana’s “Center of Imagination,” which houses a laundromat, art therapy space, communal kitchen, library and shelter. Installed in May, PAM Mariana’s solar microgrid will lay the groundwork for distributed renewable energy throughout the municipality.


Project Partners


Rampart Emergency Medical Services

Black rock city, nevada


background information

Rampart is a remote temporary health clinic that treats an average 2,000 patients a week and serves as the primary emergency medical center for Burning Man’s Black Rock City. Located two hours from definitive care, the facility includes a critical care unit, primary care bay, and laboratory and x-ray services. The clinic has traditionally used on-site generators to meet power needs.

Rampart’s annual set-up and demobilization mirrors health resource deployment for disaster relief and refugee services. It provides a unique environment to test innovations in semi-permanent, renewable power systems for emergency medical systems in a controlled setting. We apply the lessons learned from deploying renewable microgrids at Rampart to bring sustainable power to those who need it most.

Zatari Refugee Camp, Jordan  Pop: ~79,000

Zatari Refugee Camp, Jordan

Pop: ~79,000

Black Rock City, Nevada  Pop: ~80,000

Black Rock City, Nevada

Pop: ~80,000



Year 1 - 2017

For our flagship project, Footprint deployed a 3kW mobile solar array with 10kWh lithium ion battery storage to offset diesel use. The system powered the clinic’s lighting and refrigeration.



Year 2 - 2018

Building off our successful 2017 pilot project, volunteers returned to the desert to deploy 3kW of traditional solar panels, a 1.8kW thin-film solar shelter and 10.8kWh of storage. The system powered lighting, refrigeration, aircon and outlets for the medical triage site.


Special thanks to our equipment sponsors