US territories leading on switch to solar energy

by | Feb 21, 2018 | Economy, Headlines | Comments

In the midst of modern headlines and debate pertaining to the way in which climate change will affect countries across the globe, US territories are leading the way in terms of shifting energy use away from fossil fuels and towards solar power.

In Puerto Rico, solar energy has been central to the rebuilding process and recovery, particularly through the use of solar energy to power healthcare facilities. Not only has solar power been increasingly utilized in Puerto Rico, but expanding the use of solar energy has become a primary goal for many residents and officials going forward. Cutting-edge technology company Tesla has stated that Puerto Rico is an area of opportunity to expand solar, and even delivered solar panels to a children’s hospital in the territory to keep operations running after Hurricane Maria struck. Puerto Rico’s Governor Ricardo Rosselló has also said that he supports expanding microgrids and solar energy systems within the territory.

Guam has also been at the center of progress in solar development. In January, the Hybrid Guam Land Use Commission approved an application for a renewable energy facility dedicated to expanding solar energy production in the Sasayan Valley, and the Guam Power Authority plans on buying solar power from South Korea’s state-owned power company, Korea Electric Power Corporation. The Guam Power Authority has also moved forward with the second phase of its renewable energy program, which will develop two solar plants in Mangilao and buy additional solar power from outside energy providers. In total, seventeen projects related to solar and other renewable energy sources are in place throughout 2018, which will fund over $40 million worth of development through federal grants.

Orders for solar-powered refrigeration and water sanitation products have been placed in the US Virgin Islands, signifying growth in solar and renewable energy use among residents. Solar infrastructure planning has also begun to take place in the US Virgin Islands in response to the events of Hurricane Maria. Microgrids and renewable-based power plants are seen as valuable additions for the future of energy production and distribution in the territory. In American Samoa, Tesla plans on deploying solar battery units as a means of providing services for residents and companies across territory, after having already established microgrids in the territory. The Northern Mariana Islands have also been at the center of discussions concerning the future of solar and other renewable energy as necessary to sustainable power, with a focus on lowering costs and providing residents with mini-grids and stand-alone solar systems.

Indeed, it is clear the US territories are a the forefront of the global expansion towards solar energy and renewable resources. We can see that across the territories, solar projects have been implemented and are being developed for the coming year and even further into the future. As residents, companies, and public officials across the globe have begun to discuss and address the changing landscape of climate impact and environmental sustainability, the US territories have solidified their spot as leaders in the movement towards solar energy and renewable resources.