Through the Solar Ambassador Prize, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) will award a total of $3.5 million to up to 20 community organizations to help accelerate the installation of residential solar and battery storage systems on an estimated 30,000 – 40,000 homes across Puerto Rico.
In December 2022, President Biden signed the Fiscal Year 2023 Consolidated Appropriations Act into law, which included $1 billion for DOE to establish the Puerto Rico Energy Resilience Fund to improve the resilience of the Puerto Rican electric grid, with a focus on the island’s most vulnerable households.
On July 31, 2023, DOE’s Grid Deployment Office (GDO) released a Funding Opportunity Announcement for up to $450 million to support residential solar and battery storage deployment for very low-income, single-family households that:
Are located in areas that have a high percentage of very low-income households and experience the longest and most frequent outages, or
Contain a family member with an energy-dependent disability, such as electric wheelchair users or individuals who use at-home dialysis machines.
The Solar Ambassador Prize is a complementary competitive funding opportunity for organizations in Puerto Rico to assist DOE in identifying, engaging, and assisting with intake processing of qualifying households for residential solar and battery storage installations. Through the prize, DOE will award a total of $3.5 million to up to 20 community organizations to assist in this work. Solar Ambassadors will initially receive $15,000 in seed funding and will be eligible for compensation based on the number of households enrolled for residential solar and battery storage home inspections.
Community-based organizations, nonprofits, and for-profit entities with an existing presence in Puerto Rico are eligible to apply to become Solar Ambassadors. These groups understand the unique needs and challenges of their neighbors and are in the best position to serve as local, trusted partners to help DOE identify and support the island’s most vulnerable residents. DOE will leverage that local knowledge and trust to successfully deploy energy resilience solutions.