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Puerto Rico Has 100% Renewables Within Reach

By Rick Laezman | Feb 23, 2024
Rooftop solar installations in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico. Photo by Karl Callwood on Unsplash
According to a recent report from the federal government, Puerto Rico has the resources to achieve a notable milestone: the island could be powered by 100% renewables in about 25 years.

Seven years after hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated Puerto Rico, the island is still working to repair its heavily damaged infrastructure. Along the way, renewable energy technology has become something of a transformative resource.

According to a recent report from the federal government, Puerto Rico has the resources to achieve a notable milestone: the island could be powered by 100% renewables in about 25 years.

The study was published on Feb. 7 after two years of study by the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The Puerto Rico Grid Resilience and Transitions to 100% Renewable Energy Study (PR100) examines a wide range of options the commonwealth could pursue to achieve energy independence, reliance and equity.

In particular, it finds that renewable energy resources in Puerto Rico exceed by more than tenfold what would be required to meet the island’s projected energy needs through 2050.

One of the primary recommendations for harnessing that resource is the development of utility-scale solar energy projects on land not designated for agriculture. Rapid deployment and expansion of residential solar and storage also features prominently in the recommendations.

On that note, Puerto Rico is off to a good start. Residents have been adopting rooftop solar at a rapid pace. The study notes that distributed solar PV adoption has increased threefold in a little over two years, from 228 megawatts (MW) of total installed generation capacity in June 2021 to 680 MW in October 2023.

The federal government is also taking steps to encourage further growth. The DOE  announced on Feb. 7 the launch of the Programa Acceso Solar (Solar Access Program). With funding from the Puerto Rico Energy Resilience Fund, it will connect up to 30,000 low-income households with residential rooftop solar and battery storage systems.

With all these batteries, virtual power plants are also playing a role in the recovery. Last November, the transmission and distribution utility for Puerto Rico, LUMA, launched the Customer Battery Energy Sharing initiative. The emergency demand response program provides participating solar customers with battery power sharing during peak demand periods. The program is intended to reduce rotating outages and increase system reliability.

Header image: Rooftop solar installations in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico. Photo by Karl Callwood on Unsplash.

About The Author

LAEZMAN is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer who has been covering renewable power for more than 10 years. He may be reached at [email protected]

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