San Juan, P.R., and Washington, D.C.
Today, Puerto Rico Governor Pedro Pierluisi expressed his support to receive $5 billion to install solar panels and safe batteries across the archipelago. In his Twitter account, he added that Puerto Rico currently has “$800 million in federal funds earmarked for that purpose, but we clearly need more.”
Pierluisi’s statement comes on the heels of a letter led by Rep. Raúl Grijalva, and signed by 38 members of Congress including Grijalva, to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and House Committee on Appropriations Chair Rosa DeLauro. The letter calls for $5 billion in emergency funds for rooftop solar and storage that would, “help ensure that low-income and vulnerable households in Puerto Rico would be able to benefit from the resiliency afforded by rooftop solar and storage.”
The letter also points to Queremos Sol’s study on a feasible transition to 75% distributed renewable energy in a span of 15 years. This appropriation is a necessary step to ensure Puerto Rico can quickly recover and come back stronger, building a more resilient system that delivers benefits for people who need it most.
Following Pierluisi’s announcement, Earthjustice and its Puerto Rico partners released the following statements:
“While we agree with the governor’s statement, we must be cautious of his words over social media favoring the use of federal funds to install rooftop solar panels in houses and safe battery storage,” says Myrna Conty, Puerto Rico-based environmentalist and president of Amigos del Rio Guaynabo. “Unfortunately, the governor does not have a lot of credibility in our country due to his unrelenting defense of LUMA Energy’s contract, even though we all know it has been a disaster. We want to emphasize that solar panels be installed on rooftops and safe battery storage. We demand Gov. Pierluisi put his words into action and that he stop supporting the burning of fossil fuels in Puerto Rico. We Want Sun!”
“We are happy that Gov. Pierluisi is starting to recognize what so many Puerto Ricans have known for too long: a fossil-fueled, centralized electric system dependent on powerlines that travel across the archipelago is not viable. The sun is the answer,” says Jennifer Cassel, senior attorney with the Clean Energy Program for Earthjustice.