Solar energy could be key in Puerto Rico’s transition to 100% renewables, study says


It’s becoming clearer how Puerto Rico might meet its goal of getting 100% of its electricity from renewable energy sources by 2050. For more, read Solar energy could be key in Puerto Rico’s transition to 100% renewables, study says.

Key Takeaways

  • Last year, the DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, with funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, began studying options to transition the island to 100% renewable energy by 2050.
  • The goals of this two-year, federal government study, called PR100, are to build an electricity system that is more resilient against future storms, to transition away from imported fossil fuels to cleaner sources such as solar and wind, and to make electricity more affordable. 
  • A half-way update on the study was released on January 23. In the report, researchers found there’s a preference among many residents for “distributed energy,” which is generated near where it’s used.
  • As part of the study, four scenarios have been modeled to meet Puerto Rico’s targets – all include more rooftop solar combined with battery storage. The first scenario aligns with the found preference for distributed energy and includes a focus on installing distributed energy, namely solar panels, on buildings where owners could get the financial benefits of generating electricity.
  • The final three scenarios include focusing on critical services like hospitals and fire stations, prioritizing deployment in remote and low-to-moderate income areas to distribute benefits equitably, and installing solar panels on as many other rooftops as possible.

Path to 100% Perspective

Reliable access to power is fundamental to our way of life and our ability to thrive – as individuals, communities, countries, and an interconnected world. The people of Puerto Rico know this full well, having endured widespread power outages due to Hurricanes Maria and Fiona. As the island looks to transition to 100% renewable energy by 2050, it’s best that they heed the four key factors that contribute to the success of renewables and our drive toward a net-zero future: flexibility, efficiency, resilience, and reliability. A focus on increasing solar + storage is a necessary and key first step on their Path to 100%.