Puerto Rico has been my home for almost 13 years. Like many of my neighbors, I’ve also experienced firsthand the impacts of Hurricanes María and Fiona, and like them, I’m frustrated by the persistent power outages, utility mismanagement and increased electricity costs.
In the wake of Hurricane Fiona, and at the five-year anniversary of Hurricane María, I will take on these challenges in my role as the new Puerto Rico program director for Solar United Neighbors. I will work across the island to empower consumers to transition to rooftop solar. This is a pathway towards energy independence. Solar is one of the few solutions that is helping individuals reduce their reliance on expensive, imported fossil fuels. Rooftop solar uses homegrown energy to lower your utility bill and supports the local economy.
SUN’s work to bring more solar to the people of Puerto Rico is more important than ever. The impacts of hurricanes and climate change are intensifying. We need to be ready. The island needs to become more resilient to these impacts. Now is the time to transition from an antiquated, unreliable power grid. In its place we must build a modern, two-way energy system that directs control and benefits back to the people of Puerto Rico. The answer is simple. With solar on the roofs of homes, businesses, and churches, the power produced by our community will stay in the community. This will help keep the lights on.
I am very fortunate to have worked closely with others on the island as the co-founder of El Puente Puerto Rico. Together we found solutions to reduce climate change impacts and to promote energy equity. I’m proud to build on this work through SUN and its focus on helping more Puerto Ricans access renewable, resilient energy with rooftop solar.
We’ve got a lot of work to do.Together we can rise to the challenge. Here is an outline of our goals for SUN’s program in Puerto Rico:
Empowering communities through education
One of the most important parts of our work as a nonprofit organization is the time we spend educating residents and businesses about solar and its benefits. We routinely host free informational sessions. These help you learn more about the basics of solar energy, financing, and economics. Solar United Neighbors has a trusted team of experts. We’re ready to answer any questions you might have. SUN provides guidance for consumers to help you make an informed decision. We’ll give you the information you need to protect yourself from scams and misinformation.
Whether you’re new to solar or have been interested for a while, I’m excited to share all the resources SUN has. Like my friends and family, you too may also have questions such as:
- “How can I make the best choice when considering panels and batteries?”
- “How can I make sure that my solar system contract is at a fair price and covers my needs?”
- “How can I join with others in my community to help more people benefit from solar?”
I look forward to answering these questions and more. Learn about how we can help at SolarUnitedNeighbors.org/PuertoRico.
Increasing access and affordability of solar energy
SUN helps consumers breakdown barriers to accessing solar. In this way we enable you to take control of your rising energy bills. Solar co-ops are a key component of SUN’s work, and are helping to decrease the costs of going solar while providing support throughout the entire process. Recently, we partnered with CAMBIO to launch the Rio Piedras y Vecinos Solar Co-op, and are looking to bring the co-op model to more communities around the island. To learn more about the solar co-op and upcoming information sessions, visit: SolarUnitedNeighbors.org/RioPiedras.
Building a grassroots network of solar advocates
SUN represents a diverse constituency of people that want to go solar or already have solar. We’re building a strong grassroots network in Puerto Rico to help consumers fight for their energy rights. Our efforts will focus on education and empowering people with the tools and resources to advocate locally and at the federal level. SUN will help the island stay informed about policies that will impact solar and help people organize and take action to protect solar rights and energy freedom.
Holding LUMA and government officials accountable
When the power is out, living conditions are unbearable. Work is impossible. Schools and hospitals can’t operate. This is unacceptable. In addition to persistent blackouts, the residents of Puerto Rico are also suffering from constant bill increases since LUMA came to the island in 2021. We’ll work together to bring accountability to utilities and government leaders. Sign up here to get involved.
Let’s work together
Visit our PR SUN web page to stay up to speed on solar co-ops, advocacy efforts, and upcoming events.
If you’d just like to say “hello” or have any questions about going solar, please don’t hesitate to reach out at any time.