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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Off-the-grid solar project in Adjuntas hailed as first step to energy independence

Two microgrids of the Adjuntas Pueblo Solar Project, developed by Casa Pueblo, Honnold Foundation and the Solar Energy Community Association, were inaugurated at Saturday’s event in Adjuntas.

By The Star Staff

Hundreds of people participated Saturday in Adjuntas in the “Marcha del Sol (Sun March): Puerto Rico Triumphs,” a movement to create renewable energy microgrids independent of the island power grid operated by the private consortium LUMA Energy.

“We are causing a systemic change in the way energy is generated in the country,” said Dr. Arturo Massol Deyá, the associate director of Casa Pueblo, in a written statement. “In this way we have redefined the sun as the primary source of energy; in fact, as an example for other municipalities, the country and the Caribbean. It has been a rough road, but one made possible by the strength of community self-management and the solidarity of hundreds of people.”

At the event, two microgrids of the Adjuntas Pueblo Solar Project, developed by Casa Pueblo, Honnold Foundation and the Solar Energy Community Association (ACESA by its Spanish initials), were inaugurated.

The system, which provides 172 kilowatts of solar power and one megawatt of storage through two megabatteries that are unique in Puerto Rico, enables the energy independence of 13 businesses located on the periphery of the public square. In addition, it promotes economic activation, retention and generation of jobs, and energy resilience in times of crisis, the system’s developers said.

Adjuntas Pueblo Solar was developed over a period of four years, thanks also to donations from Rivian and REC Group, and the organization Empowered by Light.

The construction of the microgrids was completed and now the testing and operational adjustments phase has begun. Eventually, the system will allow merchants to become independent from LUMA Energy. ACESA will act as the administrator, sell electricity to merchants and allocate part of the income to the realization of new solar projects in the municipality, with special attention to benefiting low-income people.

“Now it is up to all of us to oversee that network, to do it with quality and to give back to our people what they have given us in service for so many years,” ACESA President Gustavo Irizarry said. “We’re not going to pay LUMA, we’re going to pay ACESA. And we are going to govern where that money goes.”

Emily Teitsworth, the director of the Honnold Foundation, stressed meanwhile that in the 10 years of its existence, the Adjuntas Pueblo Solar Project has been the largest community project the foundation has supported financially.

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