ENERGY GLOBE
Puerto Rico

WINNER:
Casa Pueblo

With the Project:
Adjuntas Pueblo Solar

Casa Pueblo has transformed the energy landscape of the municipality of Adjuntas in order to show what can be done to confront Puerto Rico’s fossil fuel dependency. Since Hurricane Maria in 2017, over 192 community solar projects have been completed, impacting health care, entertainment, communications, education, food security, among others. Nearly 2,000 solar panels have been installed for a combined 400 kW capacity and 850 kW/h of energy storage. A 1 MW/h storage facility for the urban microgrid was completed in 2021. Adjuntas Pueblo Solar is promoting solar production throughout Puerto Rico with the so-called ‘Marcha del Sol’ (March of the Sun). Their short-term goal is to meet 50% of the energy generation needs with solar power at the point of consumption.

INITIAL SITUATION

Casa Pueblo has been promoting local community management of natural resources to fulfill a global responsibility regarding global warming for the past four decades. As part of Casa Pueblo’s natural resource management approach, its main facility was solarized in 1999 and upgraded in the summer of 2017. Through the hurricane, their historical actions towards sustainable development were tested, and almost by default, Casa Pueblo showed resilience and preparedness to quickly launch emergency responses and adapt to new challenges. Adjuntas is one of the poorest mountain municipalities with 64% of its population at poverty levels and 17% over the age of 65. During the months following Hurricane Maria, Casa Pueblo’s responses, aided by Puerto Ricans in the diaspora and philanthropic support, included the installation of dozens of solar refrigerators in rural communities.

SOLUTION

Right after category five Hurricane Maria, Casa Pueblo served as an energy oasis for the community with energy being generated at the point of consumption. While some of the activities after the hurricane were short-term solutions like distributing over 14,000 solar lamps to the communities, the actions were envisioned to open a road for permanent changes. Not only did the local people see energy resilience at work, they also learned how to yield solar power from their new lamps and how to steward that energy at home. Casa Pueblo’s community-based responses are driven to promote social transformations, with the overarching goal of changing the energy landscape of their fossil fuel dependent country to one based on renewable energy sources.

INNOVATION

The installed microgrid and the generated solar energy are owned and distributed by the community itself via the non-profit organization Asociación Comunitaria de Energía Solar Adjunteña. Local businesses are provided with sustainable energy at reduced rates, with the profits being invested in the microgrid’s maintenance and repair, and the remainder going back to the community, which will in turn aid boosting Adjuntas’ local economy. These funds help low-income households to reach energy security by means of solar systems installed at their homes.

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WINNERS

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OUR PARTNERS

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