The new PV capacity will be part of a plan to add 1.5 GW of new generation capacity and to address the state of emergency in the island’s electricity system.
The head of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) stated in a press conference that 240 MW of solar power will be added to the country’s energy system in the frame of a plan aimed at addressing the state of emergency of the electricity network.
This new installed power will come from an unspecified number of large-scale PV plants, whose completion is scheduled for June 2019, that would be built thanks to private investments. According to PREPA CEO Ricardo Ramos, all of these projects have already been contracted.
An additional 300 MW of renewable energy generation capacity would be installed at a later stage by June 2021, Ramos added, while another 200 MW of storage capacity would be installed in order to further support distributed generation.
All these projects will be part of a plan to add 1.5 GW of installed power, for which no specific technologies were pointed out and which is considered necessary to ensure power supply in the country.
Ramos said that the new capacity from renewable energy sources will enable a reduction of power prices, as it will make the energy system less dependent on prices of fossil fuels. Furthermore, Ramos said that he is aware that solar distributed generation will be responsible for a considerable loss of clients for PREPA, and that, however, is favorable to this transformation of the energy system.
Ramos concluded by saying that all PREPA’s income will be used for the implementation of this plan and to make the company “the electric utility of the future”.
PREPA had simplified the rules for net metering in February. The new rules allow a faster interconnection process for PV projects up to 1 MW and a one-step procedure for PV systems up to 10 kW. At the end of 2015, the country had approximately 60 MW of installed distributed generation PV capacity.
The energy crisis of Puerto Rico is strictly linked to its difficult financial situation, which pushed to government to say in 2016 it was not able to pay its debts of approximately $73 billion. Puerto Rico, which is an unincorporated territory of the United States, has requested the financial support of the U.S. in several circumstances.