Governor Hochul Announces Partnership to Expand Solar Development Support for Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands
New York (STL.News) During a tour of Concilio de Salud Integral de Loiza in Loiza, Puerto Rico, Governor Kathy Hochul today announced New York State will work with community partners to expand ongoing solar deployment and workforce development support in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The State will provide new curriculum and permitting and financing expertise that will support the development of solar industries on the Islands. This effort further strengthens New York’s long-standing commitment to support Puerto Rico’s reconstruction and recovery from Hurricanes Irma and Maria, and helps reinforce New York State’s commitment to ensuring a growing clean energy workforce pipeline and an equitable clean energy transition.
“Climate change is the crisis of our time, and it takes each and every one of us to pave the path for a cleaner, greener future,” Governor Hochul said, “The number one obstacle we must overcome is our over reliance on fossil fuels and we must do so equitably so no community is left behind. New York and Puerto Rico have a historically close relationship and this partnership is an important step to creating more sustainable jobs and boosting green energy.”
Today’s announcement builds on the $4.5 million Puerto Rican Solar Business Accelerator, Workforce and Small Business Development Program established in 2019 with support from the U.S. Economic Development Administration. The Puerto Rican Solar Business Accelerator, Workforce and Small Business Development Program is a joint, public-private effort between the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, The Interstate Renewable Energy Council, and PathStone Corporation, Inc. to train and place workers in solar-plus-storage and construction, develop innovative solar financing options, and to provide technical assistance to solar businesses.
Since the program’s inception, Puerto Rico has benefited from the:
- development of community microgrid and storage systems in two communities;
- establishment of webinars on microgrids and training on operations and maintenance best practices for communities in Puerto Rico;
- completion of a Solar Jobs Projections Assessment and a Workforce Needs Assessment which resulted in collaboration with NYSERDA to develop workforce training programs;
- development of employer-based apprenticeships and on-the-job training initiatives;
- completion of a Solar Finance Assessment and workshops to educate the finance industry about solar industry technology, regulations and certifications;
- creation of a standing committee on solar finance innovation to work on a market based approach to reduce barriers to solar financing for all sectors of Puerto Rico and;
development and delivery of business technical assistance to the solar industry.