WASHINGTON, D.C.— The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced a slate of community groups and nonprofits selected to receive up to $13.85 million to help vulnerable households in Puerto Rico obtain residential solar and battery storage installations and provide residents with education and consumer protection services. Funded through the Puerto Rico Energy Resilience Fund (PR-ERF), today’s announcement will support DOE’s efforts to deploy solar and battery storage systems on up to 40,000 single-family households in Puerto Rico. The PR-ERF will ultimately improve vulnerable households’ energy resilience, achieve President Biden’s goal of lowering energy costs for all Americans, as well as help Puerto Rico achieve its goal of 100% renewable energy by 2050.
“For Puerto Rico’s most vulnerable residents, a power outage can be a matter of life or death” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “The success of the Puerto Rico Energy Resilience Fund depends on community trust and engagement, and our DOE team is excited to work with a committed network of local organizations that know the critical needs of their neighbors best.”
DOE anticipates outreach to eligible households will begin in early 2024, and the first installations to begin in Spring 2024.
Nonprofits Selected for Education, Training, and Consumer Protection Efforts
To help ensure these vulnerable households can best use their solar and battery systems as well as access their consumer rights in Puerto Rico, DOE is announcing the selection of two qualified organizations – Hispanic Federation Inc. and the Institute for Building Technology and Safety – to lead education, training, and consumer protection initiatives. Pending successful negotiations, these two organizations are slated to receive up to $10 million total from the PR-ERF Funding Opportunity Announcement.
Solar Ambassador Prize
DOE also announced today 16 community organizations in Puerto Rico as selectees for the PR-ERF’s $3.85 million Solar Ambassador Prize. Solar Ambassadors will assist the Department in identifying, engaging, and assisting with intake processing of qualifying households for solar panel and battery storage installations. The full list of selected Solar Ambassadors is available on the Grid Deployment Office website.
The Puerto Rico Energy Resilience Fund (PR-ERF)
In December 2022, President Biden signed the Fiscal Year 2023 Consolidated Appropriations Act into law, which included $1 billion to establish the PR-ERF to enhance energy resilience for Puerto Rico’s most vulnerable households and communities and help the Commonwealth meet its goal of 100% renewable energy by 2050. The development of the PR-ERF has relied heavily on local collaboration and feedback, including Secretary Granholm’s direct engagement with residents and stakeholders in the region through strategic meetings, townhalls, and community listening sessions.
The first tranche of PR-ERF funding prioritizes very low-income, single-family households that are either:
- 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.
Learn more about the Grid Deployment Office.