Puerto Rico assigned $6.5M for 31 rural energy projects, tech assistance
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has allocated about $6.5 million to 31 renewable energy projects across Puerto Rico, according to Maximiliano J. Trujillo-Ortega, state director of USDA Rural Development for the island.
These funds will assist agricultural producers and rural small businesses in investing in renewable energy and energy efficiency improvements that will reduce their energy costs, generate new revenue and strengthen the resilience of their operations.
With contributions from both USDA Rural Development and the rural private sector, nearly $20 million will be invested in renewable energy systems and more efficient equipment, stated Trujillo-Ortega.
“These systems will help rural small- and medium-sized businesses and farmers lower energy costs, keep equipment and services running when power outages occur, boosting Puerto Rico’s economy,” he said, adding that USDA Rural Development will continue providing loans and grants through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), part of the funding from the Inflation Reduction Act, through September 2024.
Out of the 31 recipients, four are agricultural producers and six are located in Rural Partner Network zones, Trujillo-Ortega said.
The funded projects in Puerto Rico include:
Ramey Resort Inc., a hotel in Aguadilla, received $1 million to install a 1,300-kilowatt (kW) photovoltaic system. The project will save $1,536,616 annually.
Supermercado Agueybana Inc., which operates as Supermercado ECONO in Guánica, received $230,320 for a 264.3 kW photovoltaic system with battery backup, saving $391,864 annually.
Rincon de la Villa Inc. Hotel received $159,732 to purchase and install a 221.85 kW photovoltaic system. The project will save $94,607 annually.
Campo Alegre Inc. in Hatillo received $126,760 to replace a 136.6 kW solar PV system with battery backup. The project will save $133,400 annually.
Succession Espinosa Rivera Inc., an agricultural producer in Hatillo, received $98,334 to for a 22.5 kW PV system with battery backup. The project will save $33,600 annually.
Clínica Visual del Oeste CPS in Aguadilla received $45,480 for a 24.8 kW solar photovoltaic system with battery backup to ensure power at this medical office. The project will save $10,195 annually.
Hamad, Nedal DBA Impact Stores in Lares received $33,040 for a 31.98 kW solar PV system, which helped ensure the business never lost power. The project will save $14,663 annually.
Hogar Campo Verde Inc., a nursing home in Juncos, received $30,000 for a 15 kW solar photovoltaic system with battery backup. The project will save $8,204 annually.
To foster participation from farmers and small to mid-sized businesses in rural areas in the REAP program, the Rural Energy Technical Assistance Program for America (REAP TAG) plans to offer technical assistance to potential applicants.
Consequently, Rural Development awarded a total of $500,000 in REAP TAG grants to three Puerto Rican entities: Cooperativa Hidroeléctrica de la Montaña, Americouncel LLC, and Borincana Foundation Inc. The Cooperativa will support the municipalities of Adjuntas, Jayuya, Lares, Maricao and Utuado.