Castañer community included in Puerto Rican Solar Business accelerator program
The Puerto Rican Solar Business Accelerator, a program run by nonprofit The Solar Foundation, recently selected the Castañer community to develop an energy microgrid under the US Economic Development Administration’s Community Microgrid pilot program.
Castañer is an agricultural community that is isolated and lacking in resilient energy. Due to its location, this community — which borders the municipalities of Adjuntas, Lares, Maricao and Yauco — has a tough time getting access to emergency assistance.
After Hurricane María in 2017, the community had no power for more than six months, crippling its residents and essential services such as clean water, medical assistance, and education.
In alliance with the Castañer en Acción organization and the Castañer community, the Cooperativa Hidroeléctrica de la Montaña — knowing the needs of the Castañer community and in search of solutions to improve energy resiliency — submitted a proposal.
The Puerto Rican Solar Business Accelerator is a new program to support solar workforce development, finance, and microgrid development in Puerto Rico. Led by The Solar Foundation in partnership with Pathstone Corporation Inc., this program “will expand and strengthen the Puerto Rican solar industry and spur the development of a highly qualified workforce,” according to its website.
This program is part of a $4.5 million initiative to provide business assistance and workforce development for Puerto Rican solar and construction companies, with the EDA’s support.
“We’re extremely pleased with this selection given that this microgrid will offer energy resilience for this beautiful community,” said Ineabelle Medina, secretary of the Cooperativa Hidroeléctrica de la Montaña.
“The cooperative’s efforts seek to strengthen these communities so that they don’t have to struggle due to lack of energy like it happened after Hurricane María,” Medina said.