How solar power trailers are helping those in Puerto Rico

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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) The effects of Hurricane Maria on Puerto Rico are still being felt almost nine months after the disaster. While reports show nearly the entire island has the power back on, almost 1,900 residents remain in the dark today. Back in April, an organization from Vermont built portable solar units to give power to remote areas of the island. Connor Cyrus followed up with a resident there to see how the solar power trailers are helping.

Hector Riviera lives in Puerto Rico, he says during a disaster communication has to be a priority.

"At the time, the situation was actually communication," Riviera said.

He says getting trailers, like the ones SunCommon and other businesses around the Northeast have built, are helpful for residents in rural communities on the island.

The units are able to charge electronic devices that allow people to stay in touch with loved ones and confirm if people are OK following a disaster. Now that the units are in place, people feel hopeful this season.

"Also it helps a bit to energize and give life, that was something they didn't have at the time," Riviera says.

He says the communities impacted by Maria were isolated before the storm hit, but with the trailers, the impacts of future storms won’t leave them even more isolated.

"Still, the grid is very unstable and fragile and is very exposed to smaller tropical depression of storm will make the power go out. So if they can remain in these communities maybe they will have some type of power when those events will come," Riviera said.