First Phase Begins for Solar, Energy Efficiency Project at Río Piedras market
SAN JUAN – The Solar Foundation, the Clinton Foundation and the municipality of San Juan have announced that work has begun on the first phase of the installation of solar and energy efficiency upgrades of the Plaza del Mercado produce market in Río Piedras, with installation of LED lighting that is expected to be completed later this month.
The Hispanic Federation and the Center for Disaster Philanthropy have committed two grants totaling $1.1 million in funding for the project, which will also include installation of solar panels and batteries for the market.
These installations will be done by New Energy, and facilitated by the Solar Foundation, the Clinton Foundation, and Operation Blessing through the Solar Saves Lives initiative, a joint program formed in the wake of last year’s hurricane season to coordinate the delivery and installation of solar and battery storage equipment to areas of urgent need. New Energy is providing the materials and labor for installation at cost.
The announcement includes a $600,000 grant from the Hispanic Federation and a $500,000 grant from the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, both of which will cover the cost of the purchase and installation of the first phase of solar panels, battery capacity, and LED lighting.
In addition, the Center for Disaster Philanthropy grant creates an apprenticeship program for workers to learn skills related to solar installation, roofing and electrical work.
The first phase includes the installation of 700 units of LED lighting in the market. In the coming months, “future phases will include the installation of 250kW of solar panels on the market; a 475kWh battery to help the market operate in the event of interruptions to the grid; and additional energy efficiency upgrades,” according to the release.
“We are honored that the Clinton Foundation and The Solar Foundation have been instrumental in galvanizing this much need donation which will lead the way in transforming the largest produce market in San Juan and Puerto Rico,” San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz said in the release. “Having access to solar energy will ensure dozens of small business owners will not to be hostage to an unreliable electrical infrastructure,” she added.
“This effort is directly helping the people of the Río Piedras community – making the market more resilient against future hurricanes, while also more sustainable and less reliant on energy from fossil fuels,” said Kevin Thurm, CEO of the Clinton Foundation.
“We’re proud to work with our partners to power this vital community market with clean solar energy and efficient LED lighting, as part of our Solar Saves Lives initiative to build a stronger and more resilient Puerto Rico,” said Andrea Luecke, president and executive director at The Solar Foundation. “We are also excited to launch a workforce development program that will create job opportunities in Puerto Rico’s growing solar industry.”
“This project combines so many efforts to support the Río Piedras community – driving economic development, lowering energy consumption, empowering small businesses, and promoting sustainability and resiliency,” said José Calderón, President of the Hispanic Federation.
“Having recently granted $2.9 million to community organizations in Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands and British Virgin Islands, we at CDP are committed to supporting long-term recovery from Hurricanes Maria and Irma,” said Robert G. Ottenhoff, president & CEO of the Center for Disaster Philanthropy.