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New York State vows to expand solar training resources for Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands

Written by: Leonard Parker | Solar News | 05th November

During a tour of Concilio de Salud Integral de Loiza in Loiza, Puerto Rico, Governor Kathy Hochul announced New York State will work with community partners to expand ongoing solar deployment and workforce development support in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The state will provide new curriculum and permitting and financing expertise that will support the development of solar industries on the Islands. This effort further strengthens New York’s long-standing commitment to support Puerto Rico’s reconstruction and recovery from Hurricanes Irma and Maria, and helps reinforce New York State’s commitment to ensuring a growing clean energy workforce pipeline and an equitable clean energy transition.

“Climate change is the crisis of our time, and it takes each and every one of us to pave the path for a cleaner, greener future,” Gov. Hochul said, “The number one obstacle we must overcome is our over-reliance on fossil fuels and we must do so equitably so no community is left behind. New York and Puerto Rico have a historically close relationship and this partnership is an important step to creating more sustainable jobs and boosting green energy.”

Today’s announcement builds on the $4.5 million Puerto Rican Solar Business Accelerator, Workforce and Small Business Development Program established in 2019 with support from the U.S. Economic Development Administration. The Puerto Rican Solar Business Accelerator, Workforce and Small Business Development Program is a joint, public-private effort between the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, The Interstate Renewable Energy Council, and PathStone Corporation, Inc. to train and place workers in solar-plus-storage and construction, develop innovative solar financing options, and to provide technical assistance to solar businesses.

“We are solidifying New York’s commitment to further provide families, businesses and workers in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands with the tools they need to meet the challenges of climate change,” said President and CEO of NYSERDA Doreen M. Harris. “Increased and ongoing partnerships are part of our responsibility to improve resiliency, especially in historically underserved communities, and we look forward to continuing to share best practices to allow their solar industry to flourish.”

Under this expanded support, New York State would lend expertise in developing curriculum and permitting and financing solutions for disadvantaged communities and low- to moderate-income households. New York would continue to provide assistance in areas of solar acceleration, training, business support and workforce development. In addition, the potential expansion of support would seek to provide an even broader regional benefit to the U.S. Virgin Islands in addition to Puerto Rico.

Additionally, New York State will commit to collaborating with the Hispanic Federation and their local partners to provide guidance and best practices to help strengthen Puerto Rico’s solar energy industry and build up the local workforce needed to meet Puerto Rico’s goal of 100% renewable energy by 2050.

News item from NYSERDA