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OGP gets $156M EPA grant for solar power initiatives

The Puerto Rico Office of Management and Budget is among 49 state-level awards totaling approximately $5.5 billion.

The Puerto Rico Office of Management and Budget (OGP, in Spanish) was selected to receive $156.1 million from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency through the Solar for All grant program to develop sustainable solar programs for low-income and disadvantaged communities.

This award is part of the historic $27 billion Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund under President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act to reduce energy costs for families, create quality jobs in underserved communities, advance environmental justice and address the climate crisis.

The OGP will lead a coalition, including the Public Housing Administration, the Enlace Caño Martín Peña Project Corp., the Department of Economic Development and Commerce, and the Puerto Rico Green Energy Trust. The group will install solar and storage systems that will provide an economic benefit to thousands of low-income households and make their power sources more resilient to storms.

“By reducing greenhouse gas emissions, promoting energy efficiency, and building a more resilient energy infrastructure for our most vulnerable families, we are facing a significant milestone,” said Nellie Gorbea, president of the Puerto Rico Green Energy Trust.

“At the Puerto Rico Green Energy Trust we’re prepared to establish and launch these investments. We appreciate the joint work by Governor Pedro Pierluisi and OGP Director Juan Carlos Blanco, who made this coalition possible for the benefit of Puerto Rico. We’re all committed to accelerating the adoption of green energy in Puerto Rico,” she said.

The program will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other air pollutants in low-income and disadvantaged communities and bring in the financial capital needed to stimulate additional projects. The program will also include a workforce development program to train people for good paying jobs within the solar power sector.

“This effort will not only promote private investment and workforce development in the solar sector but will also actively involve affected communities in the planning and execution of the program. We’re committed to providing sustainable and stable energy solutions at a crucial time for the island,” said Blanco.

The program will also engage residents in program planning and implementation. Given the vulnerability and instability of Puerto Rico’s power grid, solar energy is essential to maintaining power during grid outages, the local agency said in its proposal. 

“Solar for All delivers on EPA’s commitment that climate justice means delivering clean energy benefits to disadvantaged communities at the forefront of tackling climate change,” said Regional Administrator Lisa F. García. 

“This grant will help communities across Puerto Rico access solar power and reduce greenhouse gas emissions while benefiting from programs that will provide good-paying jobs,” she emphasized.

The OGP is among 49 state-level awards EPA announced, totaling approximately $5.5 billion, along with six awards to serve tribes totaling more than $500 million, and five multistate awards totaling approximately $1 billion.

The EPA estimates that the 60 Solar for All recipients will enable more than 900,000 households in low-income and disadvantaged communities to access distributed solar energy.

“This $7 billion investment will generate over $350 million in annual savings on electric bills for overburdened households. The program will reduce 30 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions cumulatively, from over 4 gigawatts of solar energy capacity unlocked for low-income communities over five years,” the EPA stated.

“Solar and distributed energy resources help improve electric grid reliability and climate resilience, which is especially important in disadvantaged communities that have long been underserved,” the agency added.

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