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ViequesLove holds initial coordination meeting with community leaders

ViequesLove held its inaugural “Solar Ambassador” planning session last week with community activists, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and church leaders.

Recently designated as one of 16 “Solar Ambassador” organizations in Puerto Rico by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), ViequesLove is a nonprofit that emerged in the wake of Hurricane Maria to provide recovery assistance for the island-municipality of Vieques, Puerto Rico.

Since 2017, it has broadened its scope responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, an islandwide street naming initiative, and disaster preparedness coordinating.

“As a Solar Ambassador, our job will be to identify and guide Vieques residents who are eligible to receive subsidized rooftop solar and battery storage systems through the DOE application and approval process,” said Dayanara Cruz-Maldonado, community engagement manager at ViequesLove.

“The goal is for families in Vieques to save significant money on their electric bills and to help transition Puerto Rico toward a cleaner, resilient and more reliable energy future,” she added.

The PR100 study, which ViequesLove contributed to, outlines Puerto Rico’s “shift from fossil fuels to clean energy by 2050.” It highlights the DOE’s federally funded program to “subsidize residential rooftop solar and battery storage systems for up to 30,000 low-income households on the island.”

“Our initial community meeting was to engage our island’s influential leaders and lay out our strategy to identify eligible households,” Cruz said. “We will be meeting Vieques homeowners in the coming weeks about the rooftop solar process and benefits by knocking on doors and holding face-to-face conversations.”

The rooftop solar program is financed by the DOE’s Puerto Rico Energy Resilience Fund (PR-ERF) and will prioritize low-income, single-family households or residents with energy-dependent medical needs, such as electric wheelchairs or at-home dialysis machines. 

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

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