302: DER Recovery & Transformation in Puerto Rico
Date & Time
Thursday, October 6, 2022, 10:00 AM - 10:30 AM
Lee Wood

After the devastation of Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico policymakers implemented aggressive policies to accelerate adoption of distributed solar and storage systems to promote energy resilience. The resulting Net Energy Meter (NEM) program credits customers at the full retail rate, with an expedited process for interconnecting PV systems less than 25 kW. However, the island’s bankrupt public utility was unprepared and unable to keep pace with customer demand. LUMA Energy took over operation and maintenance of the island’s T&D system in June, 2021. LUMA inherited an ailing NEM program with a backlog of over 8,000 customer applications, many of which had been waiting in queue for over two years. The program lacked central management, effective systems and processes, and was facing strong pressure from local regulators, politicians and stakeholders for reform. This presentation will discuss LUMA’s successful turnaround of the NEM program, which resulted in over 18,000 NEM customers connected within the first 9 months of LUMA’s operations. Achieving these results required a little creative problem-solving and extensive organizational realignment and change management. These results have spurred steadily increasing rates of adoption as customers no longer spend months in the interconnection queue. LUMA now receives nearly 2,000 incoming NEM applications monthly, representing 10 MW of rooftop solar interconnected each month.  As energy prices continue to rise (now $0.29/kWh), DG adoption will only increase. While the NEM program may be able to keep pace, the island’s electric grid still suffers from decades of deterioration compounded by unrepaired hurricane damage, with reliability metrics that are nine times worse than North American benchmarks. Learn about the latest developments in Puerto Rico, along with the island’s challenges meeting aggressive public policy mandates while repairing a badly damaged electric grid.

Session Category
Case Study