IREC Recognizes 5 Puerto Rico Communities for Solar Energy Achievements

The SolSmart program is part of IREC”s expansive work to advance the growth of solar energy and battery storage in Puerto Rico.

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Five rural municipalities in Puerto Rico have been designated by the IREC-led SolSmart program for their efforts to encourage solar energy growth at the local level. These communities are the first in Puerto Rico to achieve SolSmart designation, joining over 450 municipalities, counties, and regional organizations across 43 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Led by IREC and the International City/County Management Association, SolSmart provides free technical assistance to help local governments reduce barriers to solar energy use. The five Puerto Rico communities—Barranquitas, Ciales, Morovis, Orocovis, and Villalba—celebrated their achievement at a May 10 event in Orocovis.

“I am proud that Orocovis and so many neighboring municipalities in Puerto Rico’s Central Mountain Range are actively supporting the expansion of solar energy in our communities. This is one step closer to helping our Island achieve 100% clean energy use by the year 2050,” said Orocovis Mayor Jesús Edgardo Colón Berlingeri.

“We are so thrilled to recognize the first communities in Puerto Rico for their solar energy accomplishments,” added Theresa Perry, Program Director at IREC. “These local governments are laying the groundwork for a sustainable energy future that will help reduce energy bills for residents and businesses, while also enhancing community resilience.”

The Institute for Building Technology and Safety (IBTS) also provided extensive technical assistance support to help these communities meet the criteria for SolSmart designation. IBTS provided one-on-one guidance to municipalities; led a training session on planning, permitting, and inspection for large-scale solar systems; hosted an informational workshop for the business community and the general public; and assisted the communities with promoting the program on social media.

“As a non-profit organization devoted to strengthening our communities, it fills us with encouragement when we see them make such great strides towards building their resilience,” said Lic. Agnes Crespo Quintana, director of the IBTS Puerto Rico Region. “We are proud of the accomplishments these municipalities have made,” she added, “and hope they serve as inspiration to all communities on the Island to make sure solar energy is accessible to all residents.”

All five communities are members of the Municipal Energy Consortium of the Mountain Region, which is in the process of developing a microgrid system to create greater energy resilience. Each municipality also launched a Facebook page to inform the public about local solar energy opportunities.

SolSmart is one part of IREC’s expansive work in Puerto Rico to help make communities more resilient through solar power and storage. IREC’s Puerto Rican Solar Business Accelerator program is involved in several innovative projects to spur the development of a robust Puerto Rico solar industry and workforce.

The SolSmart program is open to all municipalities in Puerto Rico and across the United States. Communities interested in joining the program and receiving no-cost technical assistance can contact [email protected].