San Juan – Puerto Rican Gov. Luis Fortuño announced Thursday that a $98 million solar-energy project - the largest ever in the Caribbean region - will be built on the island.
AES Ilumina's 24 MW solar facility, which will create 200 jobs during the construction phase, is to be installed on a property near the southern town of Guayama that was acquired from the state-run Puerto Rico Industrial Development Company.
Fortuño said that he expects the privately financed facility to begin producing solar energy next summer and that it will be capable of meeting the energy needs of 6,500 area households.
The goal in building the utility-scale solar photovoltaic plant is to reduce the U.S. commonwealth's dependence on fossil fuels, the governor said.
"With the vision of promoting the development of a green Puerto Rico and lessen our dependence on oil, we've strived to create a climate that encourages the real diversification of our energy sources," he added.
The project is the first to benefit from a renewable energy incentives law that Fortuño signed on July 19, 2010.
The governor said the project to be carried out by AES Ilumina - a unit of AES Solar, which is a joint venture between AES Corporation and Riverstone Holdings - is the first of seven renewable energy projects in Puerto Rico that are scheduled to get off the ground between this year and 2012.