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Solar panel program could power New Orleans in next big hurricane

May 04, 2023

Feed the Second Line wants to install solar panels on 300 local restaurants. Photo: Katie Sikora,/Courtesy of Feed the Second Line

It started in darkness. In the weeks after Hurricane Ida as New Orleans struggled to get reconnected to the electric grid, one local nonprofit came up with an idea to hopefully solve multiple problems all at once: Install solar panels and battery backups in local restaurants.

Driving the news: Since Feed the Second Line developed the project, which it dubbed "Get Lit, Stay Lit," it has installed solar panels on three restaurants, with five more coming soon.

💡 Lightbulb moment: In the sticky hot days after Hurricane Ida in 2021, which plunged the city into darkness after wrecking the power grid, a handful of grassroots efforts popped up, block by block, to help keep neighbors plugged in.

The big picture: De Wulf hopes to see "Get Lit, Stay Lit" install solar panels and batteries on 300 restaurants, which could provide charging and cooling stations during power outages in what he called a "never-ending pipeline of self-funded projects."

Related Axios story: This New Orleans dad flies into storms as a Hurricane Hunter

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Driving the news: 💡 Lightbulb moment: The big picture: