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>> While Puerto Rico's still in a near blackout from Hurricane Maria, one greenhouse owner is already back in business, thanks to his investment in solar energy. Hector Santiago installed 244 solar panels six years ago and although the island's electricity gird was shredded by the Category 5 storm, most of his power source remained intact.
Reuters correspondent, Hugh Bronstein.>> I'm at a flower nursery in the central Puerto Rican town of Baranquitas, that's really a couple of steps ahead of the rest of the country because the owner of this plantation six years ago decided to invest $300,000 installing solar panels. So the energy flow here continued after Hurricane Maria slammed into Puerto Rico on September 20th while the rest of the country is standing in line waiting for diesel fuel to run electrical generators.
Santiago says, his initial investment did raise eyebrows from locals.>> They told me you're crazy. Why are you spending so much money doing that?>> But when the storm hit, he was able to regroup with enough solar power to keep two water pumps running despite considerable damage to much of the nursery.
>> The investment paid off very, very fast because the electricity prices here in the island went up. When the oil price went up, it happened the same with the electricity.>> The experience of people like Santiago who sells his decorative plants throughout the Caribbean to places like Costco already leading to more an interest in alternative energy.
>> Yeah, the government in the last year, they were doing it a lot. A lot of public infrastructures is using solar electricity.>> One local solar installer estimating the storm could drive up his business 20% a year. And while it's not fool proof, Santiago did sustain damage to a quarter of his solar panels due to flying debris, there was little fear of trees falling on vulnerable power lines near his nursery.