IREC and the Monte Azul Foundation have selected a consortium of local businesses to develop a new solar energy microgrid in Maricao, Puerto Rico! The consortium, Grupo EPC Microrred, is made up of six Puerto-Rico based small businesses, three of which are women-owned. The microgrid project will include 140 kWDC in solar panels and 169 kWh in battery storage.

The Maricao microgrid will provide clean and reliable energy to local establishments that offer essential services to the community, such as health care and banking. Participating companies include SunJuice LLC Solar, Lisa Spickers LLC, NEO ERA Group LLC, Solar Step LLC, ecologicAll PSC, and SunSol LLC.

With a population of around 5,000, Maricao is located in a remote area in the central mountain range of Puerto Rico, a region vulnerable to climate disasters and where long-term power outages are common. The microgrid will include photovoltaic panels on the rooftops of businesses, municipal buildings, and residences. It will be connected to the public grid while providing a secure electricity source in the event of an outage.

Last month, the U.S. Department of Energy released the preliminary findings of its PR100 study, which found that Puerto Rico has the resources to provide 10 times the energy it needs to achieve 100% renewable electricity by 2050. The Maricao microgrid, along with another project that went online in Castañer in 2022, will help show how similar efforts can develop at scale across Puerto Rico and become a vital part of the island’s energy mix.

The microgrid project is supported by Puerto Rican Solar Business Accelerator, an initiative led by IREC and Pathstone Corp. and funded by the U.S. Economic Development Administration. The College of Engineering at the University of Puerto Rico—Mayagüez supported the study phase of the project.