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Eaton completes first-of-its-kind clean energy project in Puerto Rico

Intelligent power management company Eaton inaugurated its clean energy project at its Arecibo manufacturing facility where it makes circuit breakers used in homes, buildings and industrial applications.

The size of the clean energy microgrid system deployed by Eaton and Enel North America is a first in Puerto Rico, the companies said, substantially reducing the facility’s carbon footprint, boosting energy resilience, and bolstering community infrastructure.

Eaton also implemented efficiency measures using its intelligent power management technologies to reduce its energy footprint.

“Communities and businesses everywhere need far more sustainable, resilient and affordable power,” said Mike Yelton, president, Americas Region of the Electrical Sector at Eaton.

“The projects at our Arecibo manufacturing facility provide a blueprint on how to put the energy transition to work — delivering important benefits for the community and our business. Together, with our longtime project partner Enel North America, we’re demonstrating the important role microgrids play in creating a robust energy infrastructure prepared to address the impact from climate change,” he said.

The clean energy project in Puerto Rico shows Eaton’s “Everything as a Grid” approach to the energy transition that enables flexible energy systems, supporting more resilient, efficient and affordable power, he said.

The project will generate more than half of the facility’s energy needs to help reduce emissions, offset energy costs, and ensure resilience during grid outage events. The microgrid system incorporates 5 megawatts (MWac) solar PV, approximately 1.1 MW of battery storage and existing onsite generators.

“With this project, Eaton is advancing its sustainable manufacturing operations in Arecibo and turns our municipality into one of the leaders on renewable energy in Puerto Rico,” said Arecibo Mayor Carlos Ramírez-Irizarry.

Eaton’s focus on sustainability at its Arecibo facility is part of the company’s broad initiative targeting a 50% reduction in carbon emissions across its operations by 2030. In Puerto Rico and around the world, Eaton is implementing energy efficiency measures and optimizing renewable generation to accelerate a low-carbon future.  

“Bold action on sustainability is vital, and the stakes couldn’t be higher,” said Harold Jones, chief sustainability officer and executive vice president, Eaton Business System. “We have ambitious goals to reduce carbon emissions both within our operations and for our customers. And you can see here in Puerto Rico, we’re finding creative and powerful solutions to make it happen.”

The microgrid is designed to withstand Category 5 strength hurricane-force winds and provides added value in normal grid-connected operations by generating renewable energy that can be consumed, stored, and delivered back to the local grid to reduce stress on the island’s utility infrastructure.

Eaton and Enel North America are initiating construction of a second microgrid at Eaton’s Las Piedras manufacturing facility to further strengthen energy resilience in Puerto Rico.

“As the impacts of climate change worsen, large energy users are stepping up to power their facilities sustainably,” said Matt Barnes, head of distributed energy solutions at Enel North America. “Enel is proud to partner with Eaton in building a future for manufacturing that reaches beyond facility walls to support energy resiliency for the broader community. The urgency to deploy microgrids — especially in regions with vulnerable electrical infrastructure—has never been greater, and Enel is delivering the clean and flexible systems that the energy transition requires.”

Enel North America built, owns, and operates the system on behalf of Eaton. It financed the project under an energy-as-a-service model, shifting Eaton’s investment in the microgrid system from a capital to an operational expense. Eaton provided installation expertise and key technologies for the microgrid system, including its Power Xpert microgrid solutions and leading power distribution equipment, company officials explained.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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