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U.S. Commerce Dept. awards $4.1 million for solar project in Culebra, Puerto Rico

By on June 26, 2019

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross (Screen capture of www.commerce.gov)

Fundación Comunitaria de Puerto Rico to install system

SAN JUAN – U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced Wednesday that the department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $4.1 million grant to Fundación Comunitaria de Puerto Rico to install a 100 percent renewable energy system to support businesses in the island-municipality of Culebra.

The project will develop solar power capability for the island, with the end goal of “creating a more robust and resilient energy system. This will lower the cost of doing business and provide consistent power in the event of another major hurricane. The solar panels will be installed in a way that will withstand future natural disasters,” according to the agency’s press release.

The project will be located in a designated Opportunity Zone, which provides tax incentives to investors, will be matched with $1 million in local funds.

“I am pleased to see how the Opportunity Zones in Puerto Rico are generating concrete benefits for areas in need such as Culebra, which I visited last Sunday,” said U.S. Rep. Jenniffer González Colón (R-PR). “The Fundación Comunitaria project is vital to the particular challenges that Culebra faces. I appreciate President Trump and Secretary Wilbur Ross’ vision and commitment to support this project as an alternative for sustainability in Culebra as well as work in the economic development of the island.”

The project is funded under the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (PL 115-123) (PDF), in which Congress appropriated to EDA $600 million in additional Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) Program (PDF) funds for disaster relief and recovery as a result of hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, wildfires and other 2017 natural disasters under the Stafford Act.

“The Trump Administration is committed to helping rebuild communities and businesses in Puerto Rico following the 2017 hurricanes,” Ross said in his department’s release. “The new renewable energy system will ensure that businesses in Culebra have the energy capacity to meet current needs and withstand future storms. The location of the project in a Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Opportunity Zone will also help attract additional investment through special tax incentives.”

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