In early April, in the middle of Puerto Rico’s densely forested mountains, residents of Adjuntas cooled off in an air-conditioned community center while the rest of the disenfranchised colonial territory was without power. The town weathered the massive blackout by relying on solar power and battery backups. “When you have energy security, you’re taking the weight off the shoulders of the employees as well as the families that come to the business,” said Ángel Irizarry Feliciano, owner of Lucy’s Pizza, which served pies through the outage. “It was a relief we could continue providing a service to our people without interruptions or having to reduce our hours.”

The town is a success story in a largely-sun-drenched island that gets just 2.5% of its electricity from solar power. Even as Puerto Rico continues to suffer from unreliable power as it recovers from Hurricane Maria, illegal development is destroying mangrove forests and increasing its vulnerability to future hurricanes. “This is one of the biggest environmental crimes I’ve seen,” said Rep. Jesús Manuel Ortiz during a public hearing in late April. “It’s outrageous. A crime is being committed right in front of everyone.” (Solar: New York Times $; Illegal development: AP, NBC; Climate Signals background: Hurricane Maria)