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Hurricane María

Solar provider Sunnova sends scathing letter to PREPA for blocking recovery


Sunnova Energy Corp., which provides distributed, residential solar power in Puerto Rico, delivered a letter to the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) blasting it for its “continued inaction and reluctance to work cooperatively with Sunnova.”

The letter was also sent to Gov. Ricardo Rosselló and PREPA’s governing board, ahead of its meeting this week.

In the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Mariá, Sunnova has been working with its employees and the island’s government to assist in providing customers with access to solar electricity.

However, inaction on PREPA’s part has made it difficult to complete projects in a timely manner, the company said.

It is Sunnova’s hope that the board will be supportive of Sunnova’s work to assist in the recovery and restoration of electricity for its customers, and to create a more resilient, long-term power solution for the island’s energy infrastructure system.

“Continued non-compliance, inaction, and defiance of explicit orders from the governor cannot be ignored,” said Sunnova CEO William J. Berger said.

Following years of regulatory hurdles sanctioned by PREPA, which have inhibited clean, renewable energy through a competitive market, the utility continues to obstruct Sunnova’s ability to connect customers’ solar systems to the grid, he said.

“As we have done historically, since our first customer on the island, we can and will continue to push through these roadblocks to provide energy that is more reliable, flexible, affordable and resilient to Puerto Ricans — and that includes solutions with solar plus energy storage (batteries), he said.

The letter, dated Dec. 13, 2017 was delivered in hopes of breaking through the gridlock that has been created by the utility, Sunnova said.

In the letter, Sunnova states that, “As of today, PREPA has not complied with the governor’s Executive Order, which unfortunately creates a situation that casts a shadow over PREPA’s efforts and commitment to expeditiously bring back power to its clients, and commitment to its obligations. Sunnova hereby requests a final and definitive date to complete this process.”

More than 100 days after Hurricanes Irma and María ripped through Puerto Rico, more than half of the population is still without electricity. While PREPA is reporting upward of 66 percent of generation, that does not represent the same number of customers with power.

“We hope that PREPA sees the impact we could be making together to bring reliable and resilient power to the island and opts to work with us as a partner rather than an opponent,” Berger said.

“The lack of power over three months, and the reluctance of PREPA to work with companies like ours, continues to hinder relief and recovery efforts on the island — to the detriment of local residents. Now, more than ever, we must all be working with each other, not against each other,” Berger concluded.

Author Details
Author Details
Business reporter with 29 years of experience writing for weekly and daily newspapers, as well as trade publications in Puerto Rico. My list of former employers includes Caribbean Business, The San Juan Star, and the Puerto Rico Daily Sun, among others. My areas of expertise include telecommunications, technology, retail, agriculture, tourism, banking and most other segments of Puerto Rico’s economy.

1 Comment

  1. Richard R. Tryon December 22, 2017

    It does not take any person long to realize that PREPA is a monopoly even without knowing what that word means. It is the only provider of power to my house or farm. So, actuating Sunnova systems to be integrated with those of AEE and PREPA is nothing but an added problem to its nearly impossible task of matching fixed generation station output to an unknown load ready to be turned on to use it.

    A far better way to help is needed. Why not build a Sunnova project for a small community with known load? Then scale up? Or a flat location on a farm with an even smaller way to show a dedicated way to survive with just direct current power off the GRID? Sea Island, Inc. offers space for it without charge!


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