by Sami Kinnunen
During one of the breaks between the Vieques Solar Energy Transitions Workshop I talked to Francisco Laboy, the Chief Strategy Officer at Genmoji a company that help to install, maintain and train communities about the use of renewable energy microgrids across Puerto Rico. After talking with him for more than an hour, I learned that Genmoji’s has been working to create these energy independent communities all across Puerto Rico through the use of solar panels, small wind turbines and passive water collection systems.
These systems are an incredibly useful technology that allows for more self-reliance however, just installing the materials is not enough. It has been shown time and time again that without engagement by the community and local understanding of how they work these systems quickly fall into despair and disrepair.
That is what really excites me about Genmoji’s approach. Every time they install a system they won’t present the knowledge to a single person but require that more community members are there so that the information isn’t bottlenecked through a single source. Genmoji is working to ensure that the systems are easy to understand, to some degree fixable at a local level, there is technical expertise in the community and there is access to real communication.
Genmoji has been investing in a training program specifically for women where they hire them for three months to become certified so that they can maintain their own community. This process not only allows communities to operate independently but also empowers women and opens up doors to more job opportunities in the future. I truly enjoyed talking to Francisco about his plans for Puerto Rican renewable energies and hope that other renewable energy companies converge to this business model.