Puerto Rico: Big savings from first PV power plant

10. October 2011 | Applications & Installations, Markets & Trends | By:  Jonathan Gifford

The Governor of Puerto Rico held a press conference late last week to claim that electricity costs for consumers could drop as much as 40 percent when the first photovoltaic power plant is completed in the U.S. territory.

The flag from Puerto Rico.

Amongst rising electricity costs, photovoltaics has great potential on the island territory. Image: Flickr/Kennedy.

Speaking at the conference, Gov. Luis Fortuno was quoted as saying, "This is a permanent savings in people's pockets. We have to stop depending on petroleum." Much of Puerto Rico’s electricity is generated by petroleum-based power.

AES Solar will build the power plant, which has been funded from private sources. The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority will buy the power produced by the plant in a 20-year deal.

Construction began on the 24 megawatt (MW) project in September and the plant is expected to begin production in summer 2012.

msnbc has reported that the Governor’s press conference highlighting the savings due under the power-plant development, comes amongst “customer outrage” over high power bills. There has also been protests in Puerto Rico against the island’s state-owned power utility which plans to build a natural-gas line across the island.

In response to the protest, Governor Fortuno is quote as replying: “Either we want cheaper power, or we don’t.”

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