SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO – The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced a funding of up to $440 million to install rooftop solar and battery systems for low-income households in Puerto Rico. This initiative is part of the Puerto Rico Energy Resilience Fund (PR-ERF), which aims to increase the resilience and reliability of the island’s electric grid.
The PR-ERF is funded by the Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) program, administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The fund will support the installation of solar panels for up to 40,000 households, with a focus on reaching the most vulnerable communities, such as those in remote areas, elderly, disabled, or low-income.
The PR-ERF will also create local, good-paying jobs and stimulate the economy by leveraging the expertise and resources of local solar companies and nonprofits. The fund will select 10 solar companies and nonprofits to implement the rooftop solar and battery projects, based on their experience, capacity, and commitment to serve the target communities.
The selected entities are: Boricua Solar, Casa Pueblo, Cooperativa de Ahorro y Crédito de Lares, Cooperativa de Ahorro y Crédito de Rincón, Empowered by Light, Hispanic Federation, Mercy Corps, Para la Naturaleza, Resilient Power Puerto Rico, and Solar Libre. These entities will receive grants ranging from $10 million to $75 million, depending on their proposed scope and scale of work.
The selected entities will be responsible for identifying eligible households, conducting site assessments, procuring and installing equipment, providing warranties and maintenance, and ensuring compliance with local codes and standards. They will also provide education and training to the beneficiaries and the local workforce on the benefits and operation of the rooftop solar and battery systems.
The rooftop solar and battery systems will provide clean, renewable, and affordable energy to the households, reducing their dependence on fossil fuels and lowering their electricity bills. The systems will also enable the households to have backup power in case of grid outages, which are frequent and prolonged in Puerto Rico due to natural disasters and aging infrastructure.
The rooftop solar and battery systems will also contribute to the island’s goal of achieving 40% renewable energy by 2025 and 100% by 2050, as mandated by the Puerto Rico Energy Public Policy Act of 2019. The systems will also support the development of a more resilient and distributed electric grid, which can better withstand and recover from future shocks and stresses.
The rooftop solar and battery projects are expected to start in early 2024 and be completed by 2026. This marks a significant step towards a sustainable and resilient future for Puerto Rico.