Puerto Rico has long depended on an unstable and unsustainable power grid which has been powered almost entirely by imported fossil fuels. As a result, its electricity costs are the 2nd the highest in the United States (after Hawaii), and the power grid is tremendously unreliable and vulnerable to damages, such as the total grid collapse caused by Hurricane Maria last year.
We advocate solar as the solution to the energy needs of Puerto Rico.
BENEFITS OF SOLAR
(1) It Is Reliable. Solar energy offers a new way of producing electricity which goes right into the hands of the consumer, rather than through the control of unreliable third-party systems. Whereas the old arrangement depends on centralized energy generation and transmission, solar systems can be designed of any size and located right where the energy is needed most.
Solar systems which are properly installed to the high-wind standards of Puerto Rico are likely to survive natural disasters such as hurricanes and remain functional during a crisis. When combined with energy storage, solar power can provide the consumer with an independent source of energy even in periods of extended grid blackouts. Additionally, emerging technologies such as solar-and-storage microgrids promise energy resiliency on the larger scales of communities and even whole municipalities.
(2) It Is Affordable. At utility scale, solar energy promises economic power generation which is now economically superior to most fossil fuel power generation alternatives possible in Puerto Rico. On a smaller scale, with the ongoing development of energy policies and financing which reflect the economic, social, and environmental benefits of solar energy, distributed home, commercial, and industrial energy systems will be economically practical for all Puerto Ricans and will lead to great consumer energy savings over time.
(3) It Is Local. Solar energy is produced on the island, used by the island, and stays on the island. Solar energy will eliminate Puerto Rico's expensive and unreliable dependency on fuel imports, and will allow Puerto Rico to be self-sufficient for its energy needs. It will also provide local communities with a much stronger voice for determining and managing their own energy needs.
(4) It Is Good for the Economy The installation, design, and maintenance of solar energy systems has the potential to create thousands of high paying and skilled local jobs on the island. Additionally, these jobs can be highly geographically distributed, which can promote balanced economic growth to all sections of Puerto Rico.
(5) It Is Clean The use of solar energy and associated technologies removes the many external costs which are always accrued through the combustion of fossil fuels, both by preventing the health consequences created by air and groundwater pollution, as well as by eliminating carbon emissions and therefore helping to mitigate the threat of climate change.
A NEW GENERATION OF ENERGY