Solar Spotlight: NRG Energy’s “Power2Serve” Vehicle Prepared to Help

This post was originally published in 2013. The tips and techniques explained may be outdated.

With the Atlantic hurricane season running from June 1st through November 30th, many residents affected by 2012’s Superstorm Sandy are left wondering if they are prepared for another devastating event. NRG Energy and its employees are ready to help areas affected by severe weather and power outages with a new concept and mobile vehicle called Power2Serve.  

Power2Serve

NRG Energy introduced the Power2Serve concept, a volunteer run effort with disaster relief vehicle and trailer. (Photo: Business Wire)

Power2Serve is a 42-foot-long disaster relief vehicle and 26-foot-long trailer combination designed to deliver immediate power, emergency shelter, access to news and information and Wi-Fi Internet connectivity to those in need. The Power2Serve vehicle and trailer will be dispatched in coordination with FEMA and state authorities.

400 NRG Employees Ready to Deploy

Approximately 400 NRG employees from across the country signed up to staff the vehicle as Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) and “ServeCrew” community volunteers. CERT members receive training in search-and-rescue operations, medical response, disaster psychology, shelter operations, and basic fire suppression. ServeCrew members are qualified to set up power charging stations, assist residents in filling out necessary forms and applications, and provide IT support.

At Reliant Center on Tuesday June 18, 2013 in Houston, Texas. (Aaron M. Sprecher/AP Images for NRG)

At Reliant Center the Power2Service vehicle on display, with SMA Sunny Boy and Sunny Island inverters. (Aaron M. Sprecher/AP Images for NRG)

Power2Serve System Details

NRG purchased the commercial-grade vehicle from a stock car racer and, drawing on expertise from across the company, modified it to suit its new mission. The larger unit has sleeping accommodations for seven volunteers and is completely self-sufficient, thanks to a 10-kilowatt solar array with two Sunny Boy 5000-US and two Sunny Island 6048-US inverters, a 20-kilowatt diesel generator and 10-kilowatt auxillary diesel generator.

The Power2Serve vehicle also has multiple flat-panel TVs to stay up to date on news and weather broadcasts, Wi-Fi and satellite service, and tablet computers to access email and the Internet. There are also 100 outlets for charging cellphones, cameras, small tools and power equipment.

NRG Gives Back

 “The Power2Serve vehicle is a way for NRG to be more involved in our communities as part of future disaster relief efforts – harnessing our collective skills and knowledge in a creative, hands-on way to respond quickly to help affected people,” said Fran Sullivan, senior vice president of plant operations for NRG. “It’s an opportunity for us to bring electricity to impacted residents in times of urgent need, to do whatever we can to make their lives a little better.”

NRG Energy announced its volunteer driven solar trailer is prepared to be dispatch when disaster strikes. (Aaron M. Sprecher/AP Images for NRG)

NRG Energy announced its volunteer driven solar trailer is prepared to be dispatch when disaster strikes. (Aaron M. Sprecher/AP Images for NRG)

The Power2Serve initiative is just one example of NRG’s commitment to improving the quality of life in local communities through employee-led volunteerism, donations, and corporate grant matching. Earlier this year, employees across the company raised $428,000 for Superstorm Sandy relief efforts. And last year, NRG contributed $5.4 million and 17,000 volunteer hours to benefit over 700 charitable organizations.

Solar Spotlight aims to highlight SMA inverters in real-world situations. Email us with information about your SMA-powered PV projects at SocialMedia@SMA-America.com

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