The U.S. Department of Energy announced Thursday that it will allocate $440 million to install solar panels on low-income homes in Puerto Rico, as the U.S. territory faces ongoing power outages and a old power grid.
Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, who is visiting Puerto Rico for the sixth time this year, said the department has selected a group of nonprofit organizations and solar companies for the project, which will cover up to 40,000 house Eligible homes are located in poor communities that experience frequent power outages or have a person with an energy-dependent disability, such as a dialysis patient.
Granholm noted that $400 million will be given to three solar companies and $40 million to five nonprofits. The first installations are expected to begin early next year, according to the Department of Energy.
“Currently, Puerto Rico is number five in the country in terms of solar installations per capita. “We want it to be number one,” he emphasized.
The announcement is the latest push to help Puerto Rico reduce its reliance on fossil fuels and a crumbling power grid, which was neglected for decades before Hurricane Maria devastated it in 2017 and battered it. of Hurricane Fiona last year. . Both storms caused island-wide blackouts, and while emergency repairs were made to the power grid at the time, rebuilding after Hurricane Maria only began earlier this year.
“I feel impatient with the network,” Granholm said. “Half of their generation facilities are not working.”
In December 2022, the US Congress approved $1 billion to help restore Puerto Rico’s power grid, and the US government formed a task force tasked with improving grid resiliency and resource deployment.