A senatorial project that seeks to promote solar energy in Puerto Rico and eliminate obstacles for the Electric Power Authority (AEE) to interconnect, in an agile way, solar installations in homes and businesses, was converted into law.
The new statute, signed by Governor Alejandro García Padilla, seeks to modernize the net measurement program of the AEE by requiring the use of meters that can be read remotely and that do not require physical access to the AEE personnel, explained Ramón Luis Nieves, president of the Energy Commission of the Senate and author of measure P. del S. 1666 that was converted into law.
“This new law will have as a consequence a radical transformation to the energy model of Puerto Rico,” said the Senator for San Juan in a press release.
The law requires, among other things, the creation of a cybernetic portal that allows the electronic filing of all documents required by the current interconnection regulations. This portal will allow the monitoring of cases, the electronic signature of the interconnection agreement or net metering, it will provide online guidance and information material to citizens.
In addition, the new law will make it possible to streamline interconnection procedures by requiring PREPA to develop expedited processes so that those distributed generators that have a generating capacity of less than one megawatt can connect to the network in an expeditious manner.
Likewise, according to Nieves, the statute brings to Puerto Rico the concept of “community solar networks” (community solar) that allows communities, particularly those with limited resources, to join efforts to share access to solar energy facilities.
It also incorporates “microgrids” or “electric islands”, by which small groups of houses, businesses or industries can be connected to a power generator that can be natural gas, solar or others.
The micro networks will have the ability to connect and disconnect from the transmission and distribution system of the EEA so that they can operate both interconnected and ‘off the grid’.
“The approval of this law demonstrates that when we value the concerns of all we can achieve a better understanding for the benefit of Puerto Rico, where solar energy is an indispensable part of the economic, social and environmental progress of our Island,” said Maximo. Torres, president of Maximo Solar Industries.
Similarly, Carlos Parés, executive director of SOMOS Solar, said that the new law is born of consensus, promotes new technologies and has as a cornerstone to benefit consumers of solar energy.
Other groups in favor of the law are: the company Sunnova, the National Institute of Energy and Sustainability Isleña (INESI), the Office of Public Energy Policy, and by the AEE itself, among others.