DOE selects Generac, Sunrun, Sunnova for Puerto Rico Energy Resilience program ($440 million)

puerto rico solar

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced a slate of solar companies and nonprofits selected to install rooftop solar and battery storage systems for vulnerable households in Puerto Rico through the Puerto Rico Energy Resilience Fund (PR-ERF). The three solar companies selected — Generac Power Systems, Sunnova and Sunrun — will enter award negotiations and may be awarded a total of $400 million across all three awards to deploy residential solar and battery systems.

“As the island continues to grapple with extreme weather events and aging energy infrastructure, Generac’s solar + battery storage solutions will help keep the power on, while also helping to support job growth within the clean energy sector,” said Aaron Jagdfeld, president and chief executive officer of Generac.

This first tranche of PR-ERF funding will help lower energy bills for 30,000–40,000 single-family households in Puerto Rico, improve household energy resilience, and keep the lights on during extreme weather events. DOE anticipates the first installations will begin in Spring 2024.

“With this announcement, we take a critical step forward in our efforts to ensure that all Puerto Rico residents have reliable electricity, especially the most vulnerable families and communities for whom a lack of power can be life or death,” said Secretary Jennifer M. Granholm. “Plain and simple, this investment will save lives, all while providing local, good-paying jobs and advancing Puerto Rico’s clean energy transition.”

This marks the first round of selections from the 2023 PR-ERF Funding Opportunity Announcement, which Secretary Granholm announced in Puerto Rico in July 2023. Eligible beneficiaries of the systems to be installed will include 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.
  • Solar Companies, Nonprofits, and Cooperatives Selected for Negotiations

In addition to Generac, Sunnova and Sunrun, the following nonprofits and cooperatives in Puerto Rico will also enter award negotiations and may be awarded a total of $40 million across all five awards for residential solar installations:

  • Barrio Eléctrico
  • Comunidad Solar Toro Negro, Inc.
  • Environmental Defense Fund
  • Let’s Share the Sun Foundation
  • Solar United Neighbors, Inc.

Before the end of 2023, DOE will also announce selectees for the PR-ERF’s $3.85 million Solar Ambassador Prize as well as the remaining $10 million under the PR-ERF Funding Opportunity Announcement, which will support outreach, education, training, and consumer protection for qualified households.

Through the Solar Ambassador Prize, DOE will partner with up to 20 community organizations who will support DOE in identifying qualifying households and assisting them with the intake process for residential solar installations.

After the announcement, Generac noted that it will be working with local partners to support the program, including:

  • PosiGen, a provider for low-to-moderate income homeowners. PosiGen’s Partner Program lease product has helped homeowners go solar since its inception in 2021.  
  • FR-BLDM, a leading locally- and minority-owned construction company will lead installations, working with other local, small, family-owned businesses in Puerto Rico.
  • Juapi Energy, the premiere PWRcell partner and Generac Service Dealer in Puerto Rico will provide an extra layer of service support to residents.
  • The Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC), a clean energy non-profit established in 1982 and PathStone, a nonprofit organization providing community development and humanitarian services in Puerto Rico since 1998 will help lead workforce development efforts that focus on providing jobs for residents from vulnerable households in Puerto Rico including last mile communities.
  • Additionally, IREC will coordinate additional local non-profit organizations to serve as liaisons between Solar Ambassadors, installers, and eligible recipients.

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 a formal Request for Information released in February 2023, as well as Secretary Granholm’s consistent engagement with residents and stakeholders in the region through strategic meetings, townhalls, and community listening sessions.

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