On June 28, 2022, more than 900 community members came together with New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell, New Orleans city council members, state and federal officials to launch the Community Lighthouse Project, which will be a network of solar- and battery-powered resilience hubs at churches and community centers across south Louisiana.
The network, which will be the largest of its kind in the world when completed, was conceived by TNO in the wake of a prolonged grid failure in New Orleans in 2021 following Hurricane Ida. The idea is to give residents of storm-battered Louisiana a familiar, safe haven in their neighborhood that can provide charging and cooling stations, lights, food and other vital resources and information when the power goes out – and stays out.
TNO has raised nearly $11 million of the $13.8 million needed for the initial phase of the project, including $3.8 million from U.S. Rep. Troy Carter, D-New Orleans; $2 million from the city of New Orleans; $1 million from the Greater New Orleans Foundation, and $700,000 from Direct Relief humanitarian aid organization.
Two dozen institutions have been identified as lighthouse sites for the initial phase of the project. Of those, 16 are in New Orleans; 8 are elsewhere in Louisiana.
Over the next few years, the Community Lighthouse Project envisions the creation of a community-wide network of 85 to 100 resilience hubs across Louisiana, each powered by commercial-scale, rooftop solar systems with back-up battery capacity, that will be able to assess need and provide assistance to surrounding neighborhoods during power outages. Construction on the first lighthouse sites is expected to begin in the second quarter of 2023, with some sites operational by the peak of the 2023 hurricane season.
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