Out of Hurricane Maria’s tragedy, a solar door of opportunity has opened.
Puerto Rico’s hurricane crisis has destroyed their grid. What if Puerto Rico’s businesses and homeowners took matters into their own hands by installing roof top solar and battery systems?
There are two compelling reasons for doing so.
Solar power is now cheaper than fossil fueled electricity generation.
And now battery prices are falling like solar panel prices. Today, a combined solar and battery systems can be price competitive as utilities impose higher and higher KW charges or peak real time prices.
Out of Hurricane Maria’s tragedy, a solar door of opportunity has opened. It is the opportunity for Puerto Rico to restore power faster, at a lower cost while also reducing emissions.
How Puerto Rico Could Go Solar
There are precedents for an island like Puerto Rico to go solar.
The Samoa island of Ta’u has installed 1.4 megawatts of solar capacity. The system is tied into six megawatt hours of battery storage. The system was developed by Tesla. This system will cover 100% of the island’s electrical needs.
Tesla is now developing a similar project on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. This system consists of 52 MWs of battery storage plus 13 MWs of solar.
There are two financing paths for Puerto Rico to go solar.
One path is for homeowners and businesses to install solar and battery systems on their buildings. Actual installation can be completed in one to three days! This would jump start the island’s electrical service and it would be financed by those most able to afford (and profit from) electrical service.
The second path is for the construction of community solar serving an aggregation of homes and businesses.
Community solar’s economics of scale generate even lower costs than individual ownership. Community solar is heavily used in New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts to promote solar power. Financing is provided by a third party attracted to the credit worthiness of the project and the underlying group of customers.
Puerto Rico’s electricity bottom line is that solar power systems are technologically and financially viable. This would be a faster, least cost, alternative to restoring grid service.
What A Solar Puerto Rico Means To The USA
If Puerto Rico did go solar it would demonstrate that:
1. Solar is cheaper than buying from a fossil fueled utility
2. Solar can be as reliable and universally available as monopoly service
3. Based on experiences in California, New York, Massachusetts and New Jersey, solar will create local jobs that will spark Puerto Rico’s economy.
A solar Puerto Rico would accelerate the call for clean power in the U.S.
U.S. business owners would demand access to the type of solar systems installed in Puerto Rico so they could benefit from lower costs.
America’s. homeowners would welcome the opportunity to have lower electric bills plus freedom from future monopoly rate increases?
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