PV microgrids to help repower storm-battered Puerto Rico

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Reddit
Share on email
Email
Hurricane Maria triggered a raft of solar and energy storage initiatives to repower homes and businesses (Credit: US Department of Defense)

PV-based microgrids could be instrumental in rebuilding Puerto Rico’s power system, ravaged by a major tropical storm almost two years ago.

The Caribbean island saw 80% of its transmission and distribution network wiped out by hurricane Maria in September 2017 but now looks set to witness a microgrid upswing in coming years, according to Wood Mackenzie.

The market, the consultancy estimated in a new report, could grow from 86MW recorded in March 2019 to 228MW by the end of 2024. Rising competition could see cumulative market investments peak US$419 million by that year, Wood Mackenzie calculated.

Isaac Maze-Rothstein, research associate at the firm, told PV Tech the expectation is that PV-powered microgrids will account for 67MW of the 228MW total by 2024, up from the current 23MW.

Solar systems, typically paired with fossil fuels and storage batteries, will face the same constraints as microgrids more broadly, Maze-Rothstein said. Access to third-party finance, net metering and a standard process for interconnection will be key challenges, he added.

PV microgrids for hospitals and clinics

A category 5 hurricane at landfall, Maria remains the strongest storm Puerto Rico, a US territory, has faced for almost a century. Since 2017, US president Trump has come under fire over the federal response and his decision to dispute Puerto Rico’s death toll estimates, exceeding 3,000 casualties.

The event sparked a raft of initiatives of solar and energy storage players, which – as noted by sister title Energy Storage News – had already enjoyed unsubsidised success on the island before hurricane Maria.

According to Wood Mackenzie’s Maze-Rothstein, post-storm PV-powered microgrids have been mostly rolled out across healthcare, rather than industrial facilities. For budget-starved hospitals and others, Maze-Rothstein went on to say, affordable financing is especially important.

Roll-out is also gathering steam beyond the healthcare segment, however. Wood Mackenzie identified over 1,000 residential solar-plus-storage systems – which the firm does not formally consider microgrids – installed in 2018 alone, together with dozens of smaller commercial units.

21 July 2022
The rooftop solar PV market is set for significant growth, but installers are being held back by complicated design software that is slow, cumbersome and fails to take into account rooftop shading, module compatibility and energy storage. Huawei’s SmartDesign 2.0 is a web-based PV and energy storage system tool that promises to solve all of those issues, and much more. This webinar will provide a live demonstration of the SmartDeisgn 2.0 tool, showing how installers can quickly complete Huawei PV & ESS system designs and assemble a professional report with 3D site view for potential customers, streamlining the design and sales service.
4 October 2022
Solar & Storage Finance USA, the only event that connects developers to capital and capital to solar and storage projects, will be back in November 2022.

Read Next

PV Tech Premium
July 1, 2022
PV Tech Premium spoke with Cypress Creek Renewable Energy and AES Clean Energy to discuss the newly formed US Solar Buyer Consortium, its objectives, market challenges and the potential advantages it holds for US manufacturing and project development.
June 29, 2022
Spanish developer Grenergy has launched a €90 million (US$94.8 million) accelerated capital increase to fuel growth in Europe and develop its energy storage capacity.
June 29, 2022
A round-up of the latest news from the US solar market, including EDF Renewables selling its 270MWdc Huck Finn Solar Project to a local utility, CS Energy partnering to deliver New York community solar and NextEnergy Capital expanding its US presence.
June 29, 2022
The US solar industry added 17,212 jobs in 2021, up 5.4% on 2020 figures, with 40% of all US energy jobs now focused on the transition to a net zero economy, according to the Department of Energy’s (DOE) US Energy and Employment Report (USEER).
June 29, 2022
An introduction to Huawei’s SmartDesign 2.0 tool, which produces 3D rooftop PV and energy storage system designs within 10 minutes.
PV Tech Premium
June 28, 2022
Solar and energy storage were described by Elon Musk as going together “like peanut butter and jelly”. Andy Colthorpe meets some of the players creating this winning combination in the US.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Solar Media Events
October 4, 2022
New York, USA
Solar Media Events
October 11, 2022
Virtual event