Hybrid Power System Fuels New Caribbean Weather Radar

Achievement date: 

Researchers and students from the Center for Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere (CASA), an NSF-funded Engineering Research Center (ERC) headquartered at the University of Massachusetts–Amherst, installed one of their Off-the-Grid (OTG) radars at the University of Puerto Rico at Aguadilla (UPR Aguadilla) campus. Installed in December 2012 on the roof of its library, Aguadilla’s OTG radar is unique because of its hybrid wind-solar power system.



Funded in part by NSF’s Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) and Research Experience for Teachers (RET) programs, students and educators from UPR Aguadilla have participated in CASA’s past summer programs. Aguadilla’s proximity to the coast provides excellent wind conditions and its proximity to a major airport underlines the significance of the data collected.



The installation of this OTG radar is directly related to the Center’s core research mission, which is to monitor weather in the lower atmosphere to supplement long-range radar systems already in place. The hybrid powertrain is still experimental, but has been successfully tested at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez (UPRM), a CASA partner institution. It also combines CASA’s OTG radar technology with the green energy research conducted at UPR Aguadilla. Now, the newly installed radar needs only to be configured to be fully operational.