The Puerto Rican Solar Business Accelerator will work with two Puerto Rico communities to develop microgrid projects using solar energy and battery storage.

Microgrids use solar energy and battery storage to provide a sustainable, local electricity source independent of the power grid. They support local resilience in areas that are especially vulnerable to the impacts of natural disasters.

These upcoming projects aim to serve as models for designing, installing, and managing microgrids in Puerto Rico. Technical and administrative assistance will be provided by IREC, along with our partners at the Microgrid Laboratory at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez (UPR-M).

Maricao, Puerto Rico

IREC has selected Maricao as the next community to develop a solar energy microgrid. One of the smallest municipalities in Puerto Rico, Maricao competed with 12 communities for the microgrid project, which will include approximately 75 kW in solar photovoltaic installations. The project will be located in the town center and benefit diverse community facilities including health care providers, banks, and other businesses that provide service to a population of about 5,430, creating a reliable and zero-emission energy system in an area that experiences daily power outages.

IREC will lead the support for Maricao in all phases of the microgrid project, with engineering and technical support from the University of Puerto Rico—Mayagüez and in partnership with a local 501 (c) (3) nonprofit, the Monte Azul Foundation.

Castañer, Puerto Rico

In partnership with the Cooperativa Hidroeléctrica de Montaña, IREC is supporting a community microgrid project in Castañer, Puerto Rico. The project will include approximately 225 kW in solar PV and 500 kWh in storage.

The solar energy microgrid project will be located in the rural community of Castañer, located in the Cordillera Central in Puerto Rico. This community experienced more than six months of without electricity following Hurricane Maria in 2017. More than three years later, it continues to face many challenges due to a fragile, insecure, and intermittent electrical system.

This microgrid will provide solar PV and energy storage that will power essential community services and allow for enhanced resilience in the face of natural disasters. We hope this project will serve as a model for other community resilience initiatives in Puerto Rico and throughout the United States.

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