The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has selected solar companies and nonprofits to install rooftop solar and battery storage systems for vulnerable households in Puerto Rico through the Puerto Rico Energy Resilience Fund (PR-ERF) grant worth $440 million.
The first tranche of the PR-ERF grant will help reduce energy bills for 30,000 to 40,000 single-family households in Puerto Rico, improve household energy resilience, and prevent power outages during extreme weather conditions.
While the grant will create local clean energy jobs, it will help achieve President Biden’s goal of lowering energy costs for all Americans and ensuring 100% renewable energy by 2050 in Puerto Rico.
The DOE expects the first installations to begin in Spring 2024.
The declaration is the first round of selections from the 2023 PR-ERF Funding Opportunity Announcement, which Secretary Granholm announced in Puerto Rico in July 2023. Eligible beneficiaries of the systems to be installed will include very low-income, single-family households located in areas that have a high percentage of very low-income households and experience frequent and prolonged power outages; or include a resident with an energy-dependent disability, such as an electric wheelchair user or individual who uses at-home dialysis machines.
“With this announcement, we take a critical step forward in our efforts to ensure that all Puerto Rico residents have reliable electricity, especially the most vulnerable families and communities for whom a lack of power can be life or death,” said Secretary Granholm. “Plain and simple, this investment will save lives, all while providing local, good-paying jobs and advancing Puerto Rico’s clean energy transition.”
The DOE selected three qualified solar companies with an existing workforce in Puerto Rico as well as five qualified nonprofits and cooperatives across the region to start award negotiations for a total of $440 million to deploy residential solar systems to vulnerable Puerto Rican households.
The following companies will enter award negotiations and are expected to be granted a total of $400 million across all three awards to deploy residential solar and battery systems for vulnerable households across Puerto Rico:
- Generac Power Systems
- Sunnova Energy Corporation
The following nonprofits and cooperatives in Puerto Rico will also enter award negotiations and are expected to be granted a total of $40 million across all five awards for residential solar installations:
- Barrio Electrico
- Comunidad Solar Toro Negro
- Environmental Defense Fund
- Let's Share the Sun Foundation
- Solar United Neighbors
Before the end of 2023, the DOE will also announce selectees for the PR-ERF's $3.85 million Solar Ambassador Prize and the remaining $10 million under the PR-ERF Funding Opportunity Announcement, which will support outreach, education, training, and consumer protection for qualified households.
The DOE will partner with up to 20 community organizations to identify qualifying households and assist them with the intake process for residential solar installations through the Solar Ambassador Prize.
The announcement was made one year after President Biden asked U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm to form DOE’s Puerto Rico Grid Recovery and Modernization Team, which is a locally led intergovernmental task force for rebuilding the region’s grid resilience and accelerating the deployment of infrastructure to deliver clean, reliable, and affordable power to Puerto Ricans.