Gov’t grants 888 renewable energy incentives to small businesses
The Department of Economic Development and Commerce’s (DDEC, in Spanish) “Apoyo Energético” program has granted renewable energy incentives to 888 small and medium businesses (SMEs) that run different types of operations throughout Puerto Rico representing $37.5 million in public and private investments.
Included in the incentives provided by the DDEC’s Energy Public Policy Program (PPPE, in Spanish) are 297 that went to companies owned by women entrepreneurs, 99 by young entrepreneurs, eight in Vieques and two in Culebra, the agency stated.
“The average cost of the projects is $42,269. These projects represent a total of 16.8MW in distributed renewable energy and 2.5MW in energy storage systems,” said PPPE Executive Director Francisco Berríos.
“In addition to the integration of renewable energy that is going to be developed, there are 99 projects that include chargers for electric vehicles and 38 include initiatives for energy efficiency. It should be noted that 56 suppliers in the same category of SMEs are the ones that will be carrying out the projects,” he said.
The program received 1,670 petitions from small and medium businesses from all over Puerto Rico, he said.
To select the 888 companies, the agency evaluated all the applications following a scoring mechanism established for the program that considers several criteria and requirements, such as the region where the business is located, the commercial sector it represents, revenue, number of employees, return investment and project savings, among others.
The distribution of the incentive by sector was varied, with services being the most benefited (261), followed by stores/retailers (132), restaurants (116), health (113), education (73), manufacturing (50), construction (41), hostels (38), agriculture and food (28), distributors (17), pharmacies (16) and recycling (3), distributed throughout the island.
Once the incentive is granted, the beneficiaries will have up to a maximum of 12 months to use it. The disbursement that applies to each beneficiary will be made directly to the supplier, after the work has been completed and certified.
In case the cost of the project is less than $25,000, the incentive will cover 100% of the cost. If it is higher, the merchant will cover the difference by paying directly to the selected supplier, Berríos explained.
“These incentives provided by the DDEC’s Energy Public Policy Program are designed to offer relief in energy costs and advance Puerto Rico’s energy transformation. This program…helps to develop both service providers and beneficiaries, both being small or medium-sized enterprises,” said the governor.
“Apoyo Energético” is part of the government’s public policy established by Act 17 of 2019, promoting the use of renewable energy sources and energy efficiency.
DDEC Secretary Manuel Cidre said this initiative stems from the need for a sustainable Puerto Rico.
“The initiative is aimed at SMEs, since they represent a relevant component in our economy and which in turn will help mitigate rising energy costs,” he said. “Puerto Rico is heading toward the most advanced and eco-friendly energy generation practices in the world.”
“And it responds, precisely, to one of the DDEC’s competitiveness pillars, which is to reduce the costs of living and doing business, mainly energy costs,” Cidre said.
The “Apoyo Energético” program provides different tools including aid for the development of the labor force, seed money incentives, and the purchase of machinery and equipment offered under Desarrollo PyMEs, and workshops with the US Small Business Administration for financial support, among others.