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Youth housing program in Juncos gets funding for solar microgrid

The Red por los Derechos de la Niñez y la Juventud de Puerto Rico signed a loan and got a donation that will enable them to acquire a solar microgrid that costs between $100,000 and $200,000, with storage to maintain the uninterrupted operation of Casa Ramón in Juncos, an independent housing program for vulnerable youth.

The loan was made through the Community Investment Fund (FIC, in Spanish) run by the Puerto Rico Community Foundation (FCPR, in Spanish) and the nonprofit also received a donation from the Community Energy Resilience Initiative.

The scope of the system provides 32.4 kilowatts solar power and 15 kilowatts of storage. The donation covers the initial payment of the project, and the cost to buy and install the equipment, which enables affordable repayment financing, representatives said.

In addition, the opportunity to finance with the FIC adds to the benefits of this initiative because the FCPR’s program provides low interest, affordable repayment terms, counseling, and guidance.

Since its launch, the FIC has awarded more than $1.8 million in funding to 15 nonprofit organizations, participating in the creation of more than 175 jobs in ten villages.

“For me it’s an important moment not only because we achieved something that we had in the master plan seven years ago that was solar energy, but because it is a different way of relating to organizations and the Foundation,” said Marcos Santana-Andújar, president of the Red.

In this case economic affordability is enabled for the production and consumption of the energy resource itself.

On the other hand, by switching energy sources — from the central power grid system to clean and reliable renewable/solar energy — the Red plans to generate savings of up to 20% on current energy costs — savings that can be redirected to other priorities and services to its community, Santana-Andújar said.

The FCPR seeks to replicate a similar opportunity of combined sources for critical facilities to have access to renewable energy and, in addition, calls on investors to contribute to the FIC to continue expanding access to financing to Puerto Rico’s communities.

The solar system will guarantee Casa Ramón uninterrupted operations, as well as that of its services and alternative programs aimed at young people between 18 through 24 years of age, with special attention to young people with children, young people from the LGBTQ community and youth no longer under the Puerto Rico Family Department’s protection system.

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

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