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Rockaway residents, still without power, are coming into the light thanks to solar-panneled trucks

 	Solar panel Trailer in Rockaway . New York Queens Rockaway B 113 St and Rockaway BL Saturday 17 2012 . Marcus santos for the New York Dily News.

Many Rockaway residents, still without power, are coming into the light thanks to the solar-panneled trucks that have rolled into their storm-savaged communities.

Solar energy could play an important role in helping to fuel the recovery of the Rockaways, about a third of which was still without power on Wednesday, LIPA officials said.

Commercial trucks, outfitted with solar panels, are being used to fuel everything from cell phones and laptops to community centers and food pantries.

“When the electricity grid was down, when the community was dark, solar electricity provided the solution,” said Robert Gardner, a climate change campaigner for Greenpeace USA.

The day after the storm, Gardner drove to the Rockaways from Maryland in a nine-ton diesel truck with 31 solar panels.

The truck has been used to power makeshift Occupy Wall Street food pantries and soup kitchens in Rockaway Beach.

“It can power about two average American houses at any given time,” Gardner said. “This is an opportunity for the renewable energy industry to prove how they can repower this community in a way that we haven’t seen before.”

SolarCity, a solar installation company, helped bring five additional sun-power trucks to the Rockaways.

“Each one will be able to power a mobile heater, a couple of cell phones and a computer during peak sunlight hours,” said Shaun Chapman, a director at SolarCity.

He noted that solar energy doesn’t need to be delivered, like gas, and doesn’t produce the pollution of other power sources.

“The fuel just comes up at sunrise and stays out all day,” he said.

One of those trucks, with the help of a generator, fueled a Thanksgiving feast at the Belle Harbor Yacht Club on Thursday.

Shannon O’Rourke, a volunteer with Rockaway WISH, (Women Inspired to Support and Help), which is helping families from its temporary base at the club, said the solar truck is “really important” to the recovery effort.

“It’s amazing,” she said. “Electricity is a huge issue here.”

Adam Friedman, the director of Pratt Center for Community Development, said that adding renewable energy can make the power grid “more resilient”; solar power, he added, is typically used in the community where it is produced.

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