Grass Valley, California: BoxPower is excited to announce a contract with the NANA Regional Corporation, LLC, to provide 50kW of power to the community of Buckland, Alaska. BoxPower systems will integrate with the existing microgrid and provide offset to existing diesel generation. BoxPower was chosen as part of a competitive bidding process due to its lower cost foundation and logistics inherent with the container design. BoxPower looks forward to the commissioning of its systems in September and the potential for future similar projects in Alaska.
Sonny Adams, Director of Alternative Energy at NANA Regional Corporation, says that “one of NANA”s goals is to promote healthy communities, and affordable, available energy is a big part of that. Additionally, many of the communities in the NANA region rely primarily on diesel fuel and generators. This solution will provide dependable power that is also clean, important to protecting the subsistence foods we rely on.”
About BoxPower, Inc.: BoxPower manufactures turnkey solar microgrids in 20 ft shipping containers that serve as a reliable and cost effective alternative to diesel generators. Founded in 2016 at Princeton University by Angelo Campus, BoxPower utilizes proprietary technology to provide a 100% reliable and affordable source of renewable energy. Drawing on experiences working in remote locations in Polynesia and US Native American reservations, Angelo saw that the falling prices of solar energy and battery technology could be leveraged to bring clean, affordable energy to off-grid sites. By pre-assembling and mass-producing their systems in shipping containers, BoxPower is able to bring affordable, durable, and scalable energy systems to underserved communities around the world. With customers ranging from Puerto Rico to Alaska, everyone deserves clean power, reliable power, BoxPower.
Download a PDF copy of this press release here: Buckland PR
“Eight months after Hurricane Maria, power had still not been fully restored to the town of Mariana, Puerto Rico.
So a company called BoxPower shipped solar panels, batteries, and a backup generator to power a café, laundromat, and community center there. But unlike most renewable energy systems, this one snapped together almost like Legos – with no engineers or electricians needed.
Campus: “If you can put together an Ikea bed-frame you can probably put together our microgrid system.”
Angelo Campus founded BoxPower. The company’s portable power systems, and tools needed to assemble them, come in shipping containers.
Campus: “The battery bank and generator can provide power from the minute it hits the ground and the solar array can be set up in about five hours to provide a completely renewable source of energy.”
BoxPower plans to sell these systems for use at music festivals and other events. The company will donate them to communities recovering after disasters. Campus says the need for emergency power is growing with climate change.
Campus: “With the frequency and severity of natural disasters increasing with every season, we are trying to position ourselves to bring reliable and clean power to the victims of those disasters globally when they strike.”
Reporting credit: Mark Knapp/ChavoBart Digital Media.”
The BoxPower team has been eagerly awaiting the opportunity to share our vision for a future where energy is sustainable, distributed, and portable. Without further ado, we present… Energy: Anywhere.
BoxPower passionately believes that our product speaks for itself. BoxPower designs and manufactures microgrid containers that integrate solar, wind, and diesel energy generation to provide a clean, affordable, and reliable source of power, on or off the grid. BoxPower’s hybridized energy system withstands harsh climate conditions to provide dependable energy. Our automated battery bank and generator energy management system can provide power within three minutes of delivery and our patent-pending solar array can be assembled within five hours without heavy equipment or machinery–by anyone, anytime, anywhere.
BoxPower Inc. provides a range of systems, including grid-tied solar, battery and generator backup systems, and complete off-grid power stations. Whether you need a stand-alone source of power, or an emergency back-up system for your home or business, BoxPower provides turn-key solutions that save you money from day one.
In case of extreme weather or unforeseen circumstances, our box can be uninstalled in one hour and the solar array can be stored in the weatherproof shipping container. BoxPower’s container mount provides increased structural support and the perfect location to prevent panels from being damaged in a storm.
By mounting a 20kW PV-solar array on a standard 20 foot shipping container, BoxPower is able to power the equivalent of five U.S. homes on a small spatial footprint. Product options include backup battery and fully autonomous offgrid capability and range in sizing from 8 to 100 kilowatts. Each container saves 3,000 gallons of gasoline annually, and has a useful life of 25 years.
Not only is this microgrid the largest solar container array on the market, but it is also the first of its kind to offer fully autonomous hybrid solar/diesel operation, guaranteeing 100% reliable power regardless of location and weather conditions.
With customers ranging from Alaska to Puerto Rico, BoxPower can bring clean, reliable energy; anywhere. If you are interested in forming a partnership, requesting a quote, or helping us out as we seek to provide electricity to the 1.2 billion people around the world without power, please reach out to our BoxPower team!
It was with great anticipation that I set out for Puerto Rico to attend the PR-GRID conference, an energy-industry conference attended by both the public and private sector players in Puerto Rico’s energy industry. Notable attendees included the ex-CEO of PREPA (the Puerto Rican Electric Power Authority), representatives from FEMA, the Department of Energy, and numerous commercial vendors ranging from solar companies to wire manufacturers. The purpose of the event, which was hosted at the InterContinental Hotel in the wealthy Isla Verde district of San Juan, was to discuss the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria (which resulted in 4-6 months of outages for most Puerto Rican residents) and to discuss pathways forward for a still-badly-damaged and bankrupt public energy sector. While most of the presenters agreed that the Puerto Rican energy industry is badly in-need of a thorough overhaul and restructuring, the strategies for how to rebuild it could be broadly divided into two groups: those who believe that energy generation should remain centralized, concentrated, and based primarily on fossil fuels; and those who believe in a decentralized structure consisting of renewable resources, battery storage, and microgrids.
A Resilient, Reliable Grid
Around 9:00 pm, I found myself mingling with members of FEMA, the Department of Energy, and the Rocky Mountain Institute at a boardwalk mixer sponsored by the Smart Energy Power Association (SEPA). While casually chatting with my new friends about their various experiences on the island, many of whom had been stationed here upwards of 6-months, we were presented with a stark reminder of the fragility of the Puerto Rican electrical grid. In the blink of an eye, the boardwalk went dark. My first reaction was to assume that a breaker had been tripped or a transformer blown–but a quick scan of the surrounding hotel resorts revealed that this outage was a small corner of a much larger portrait of darkness. While I could see distant lights inland, it was clear that the entire beach strip had lost power, the only visible light coming from green exit signs. Within 15 seconds we heard the roar of a generator, and power hesitantly flickered back into the lights of our hotel. Meanwhile, the less fortunate neighboring buildings remained dark, and the shifting beams from dozens of flashlights shining inside hotel rooms revealed that hotel staff are both prepared for and accustomed to outages.
The New Normal
After the networking session, I decided to take a walk down the still-dark beach of Isla Verde, enjoying the sights and sounds, in search of something more substantial to eat than the deep-fried cheese and empanadas provided at the conference. I was expecting most places to be closed due to the outage, so you can imagine my surprise when I came across a bustling beach-side cantina illuminated by battery powered LED lanterns. I asked my waiter if this was a common occurrence here in the heart of San Juan’s resort district. He just laughed and said, “this is normal now.”
One controversial topic that was brought up repeatedly at the GRID conference, and again in my travels around the island, was the phenomena of people choosing to stay off-grid, even after centralized grid power was returned (tenuously) to their neighborhoods. Although much more common in rural southern areas like Humacao, where most people experienced outages of five months or longer (and as many as 80,000 people are still in the dark), some residents of the San Juan metropolitan region have chosen to remain disconnected, instead utilizing and expanding the solar and battery backup systems that they cobbled together in the wake of Hurricane Maria. What I found to be the most extraordinary was the level of expertise that the average Puerto Rican had developed regarding solar and battery technology. While hitching a ride to the southeastern region of Humacao with Karen, a 20-something year old Puerto Rican native, she told me in great detail about the new 4kw solar array which she had designed using YouTube videos, and was building to replace the 2 cheap panels she had purchased immediately after the hurricane. Why? Because she wanted to be able to use her hair-dryer again.
Driven by the highest energy costs in the nation ($0.22/kwH, compared to a national average of $0.12) and a deep distrust for PREPA created by their delayed response time, these newfound solar entrepreneurs have taken it upon themselves to move the needle on solar energy in Puerto Rico, and they aren’t waiting for anyone else to do it for them.
Unfortunately, PREPA and the rest of the traditional energy providers on the island have a less flattering term for these innovators. “Grid Defectors.” If I had a dollar for every time I heard this term used by members of PREPA, power plant operators, or regulators, I would have more money than the entire Puerto Rican Electric Power Authority (hint: they were billions of dollars in debt BEFORE Maria, due to poor economic planning and failed investments). One of the more concerning proposals that I heard was that they plan to deter people from going off-grid by creating a tax or fine for those who choose not to source their power from PREPA. This was justified by the reasoning that ‘grid defectors’ (who are most often among the wealthier citizens of Puerto Rico, and can afford the minimum $8,000-$10,000 necessary for a minimal off-grid system), will cause electricity rates to increase for lower-income Puerto Ricans who will be forced to bear the fixed-costs of grid maintenance and capital improvements. While this reasoning is valid, (SEE: Utility Death Spiral), states like California, Massachusetts, and New Jersey have shown that if properly managed (and incentivized both financially and with regulations), solar and battery systems can help to create a resilient, affordable electricity grid for everyone.
John Berger, CEO of Sunnova (A Texas based solar installer with a large presence in Puerto Rico) said it best. “You can’t stop solar. We aren’t going anywhere!”
Whispers of Storms to Come
The elephant in the room throughout both the conference and my subsequent trip to the remote southeastern region of Humacao, was the government-mandated privatization of PREPA, and the details of what this privatization would mean for rural residents, renewable energy companies, and the island as a whole. Although no official statement has been released confirming or denying plans to privatize PREPA, it is widely accepted as a high-likelihood solution for PREPA’s looming debt and history of financial mismanagement. For both the solar and fossil-fuel generation industries, this possibility creates a daunting level of uncertainty with regards to how Power Purchase Agreements, Independent Power Producers, and Net Metering regulations will change in the coming year. For rural residents like Lois and Katherine, residents of Mariana who have been without power for 8-months now, they believe that privatization could result in the indefinite absence of grid electricity in low-income rural regions like theirs, due to the high cost of rural infrastructure and the low inventive of returns for a private utility company.
Even if grid electricity returns, resident faith in centralized generation has been badly shaken. Although hesitant to speak about it openly, as though giving voice to their fears could make them more likely to happen, the threat of the approaching summer-hurricane season was never far from the thoughts of all Puerto Ricans. “We have been through so much, it can’t happen again, it just can’t,” said Alejandro, “but if it does, this time we will be ready.”
We are thrilled announce the launch of our new website—www.boxpower.io. Right now, you’ll be able to find more information about our customizable containerized renewable energy systems, our mission, target markets, partners, and team. On our blog, you’ll get an inside look at what we’re working on here at BoxPower, as well as the stories that inspire us in our mission. We believe that access to clean, affordable energy shouldn’t depend on who you are or where you live, and we’ll be sharing content true to this vision.
Over the coming weeks and months, we’ll be incorporating a detailed FAQ, an interactive quote tool, and more to our site. We hope that you come back often to see our progress, and please follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.