Puerto Rico reviews utility-scale PV projects totaling over 280 MW


Puerto Rico is considering large-scale solar as a part of its reconstruction of its energy infrastructure, which was seriously damaged by the hurricanes Irma and Maria last year. This comes alongside a number of mini-grids and rooftop solar projects all targeting future power resiliency.

The Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico (JSF) is currently reviewing eight large-scale photovoltaic projects that would serve to restore a reliable and safe power supply to the island.

One such project, the Vega Baja Solar Project, LLC, is being developed by the French company Fonroche (now called Reden Solar) and has a capacity of 15 MW (AC). The plant, which would be connected to the network of the island’s power utility Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA), is to be located in Naguabo and include the installation of a 30 MWh storage system. The battery would use 137 TESLA Powerpack devices.

A second 33.5 MW (AC) project, dubbed Morovis Solar, is being developed by the Spanish company X-Elio through the special purpose vehicle Morovis Solar LLC. The project, which has been in development since 2011, already has a 25-year PPA with PREPA.

“The agreement has been amended four times since 2011. [We are] Currently scheduling a meeting with PREPA to negotiate the terms of the fifth and last amendment in order to start construction as soon as possible,” JSF's website sets out. “It is our understanding that the consideration of Morovis as a critical project, will enhance our capabilities of executing the amendment with PREPA.”

Another 100 MW (AC) project is being developed by Canada's Greenbriar Capital Corp through the unit PBJL Energy Corporation. The Montalva Solar Facility would be located between the municipalities of Guanica, Lajas and Barrio de Montalva, in the southwest of the island. “The Project is located in an area having among the highest, if not the highest, solar insolation in Puerto Rico,” the authority said in its document.

In addition, the company M Solar Generating, LLC (M Solar) is planning a 50 MW solar park in Vega Baja, in the province of Alicante to the south of the island. This project also has a 25-year PPA with PREPA. “The electric power will be sold at a rate of $0.15 per kwh escalating annually at a rate of 2% for the term of the agreement, which is 25 years,” reports the JSF. The construction of the plant is set to be completed by the end of 2018, while total investment in the project is expected to amount to about $ 110 million.

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A fifth project of 17.8 MW (AC), called Guayama Solar Energy (GSE), would also include the installation of a storage system, in this case of 9 MW. The facility would be located in the municipality of Guayama, in the region of the Southern Coastal Valley. This project also has a 25-year PPA with PREPA. “GSE was selected by PREPA as one of the eighteen renewable energy projects for near-term implementation and interconnection to the grid within the capacity cap determined by the Siemens renewable energy grid integration study,” the entity said in its report. Total investment in the project would amount to about $ 60 million.

Spanish company, Alener Generación, S.L. (Alener), through its local subsidiary Solaner Puerto Rico, LLC is developing a project between 25 MW and 50 MW . The SFPP plant is planned for the municipality of Cabo Rojo in the extreme south-west of Puerto Rico.

“The electricity generated by the SFPP will be fully purchased by PREPA under the terms of an agreement for the purchase of energy and effective operation for a term of 25 years with one possible extension of five years. The PREPA will use the green energy credits generated by the SFPP operation to comply with the Puerto Rico Renewable Energy Portfolio by 2018,” the JSF said in the project report. The estimated investment for the project is $80.7 million.

The seventh solar project, included in the list of projects of critical and strategic interest, is a 20 MW (AC) plant planned by Blue Beetle III, LLC in the municipality of Arecibo, in the northern part of the island. “The power will be delivered to PREPA under a Power Purchase and Operating Agreement executed between PREPA and Blue Beetle III in 2011, and amended three times, later summarized as 25 year long period (with extensions) and $0.1425/Kwh,” JSF revealed.

The last project on the list, with a capacity of 20 MW (AC), is called Vega Serena Solar Plant and is being developed by the company Renewable Energy Authority, LLC. This initiative, whose total investment is estimated at approximately $55.5 million, should be also be located in Vega Baja.

All of the projects, if implemented, will have a combined capacity of over 280 MW. If approved by the island authorities, all could be fast-tracked. What appears clear is that the renegotiating of PPAs, at least for those developers that were able to secure an agreement of this kind, will be key for the actual realization of the plants.

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