San Juan, Puerto Rico- November 7, 2023 – Maximiliano J. Trujillo-Ortega spoke today at the Puerto Rico Solar and Energy Storage Association’s (SESA) 7th Annual Summit held at the Fairmont El San Juan Hotel.
Trujillo-Ortega talked about the importance of thinking creatively on how to use the USDA’s energy programs available to Puerto Rico. The intersection of agriculture and renewable energy, crucial for the sustainable development of Puerto Rico, highlights the opportunities that the Investment Reduction Act (IRA) funding provides to the archipelago’s rural areas.
The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) provides loan financing and grant funding to agricultural producers and rural small business for renewable energy systems (RES) or to make energy efficiency improvements (EEI).
REAP, according to State Director Trujillo, “is much more than a Program that funds solar panels and batteries.” It can be used for energy systems that may include:
- Components necessary to aggregate energy generated at multiples sites by Agricultural Producers and Rural Small Businesses.
- Components necessary to move energy produced to move energy produced to end users, such as microgrids.
- Storage systems.
- Components may be owned by a separate entity from entity/entities initially producing the renewable energy. Separate entities must be eligible for REAP.
Trujillo-Ortega also explained about a program not currently used in Puerto Rico, the Rural Energy Saving Program (RESP).
- RESP is a relending program for eligible borrowers that makes loans to qualified consumers for energy efficiency (EE) measures, helping families and Small Business achieve cost savings.
- EE measures include on or off-grid renewable energy systems, permanent energy storage devices, energy audits, lighting improvements, HVAC efficiency improvements, and appliance upgrades.
- Additional eligible activities include installing electronic vehicle (EV) chargers.
- A RESP borrower may be a corporation, nonprofit, public body, municipality, cooperative, limited dividend, and mutual association that provides eligible purpose under RESP.
- New guidelines authorize applications from green banks, state energy offices, state-sponsored EE nonprofits, and CDFIs.
Under the Biden-Harris Administration, Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural, tribal and high-poverty areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov. If you’d like to subscribe to USDA Rural Development updates, visit our GovDelivery subscriber page. You can follow us at our Twitter Account @RD_PuertoRico.
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