In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, residents of the Island were affected by the instability of the electrical grid and lack of access to potable water. There are still vulnerable communities that face a slow electrical grid recovery due to geographical challenges and limited accessibility. The uncertainty these communities face daily affects them both physically and mentally.
To promote the well-being of these sectors and prevent their conditions from worsening, it is essential to help them combat the challenges posed by the lack of electricity in their homes. This can be achieved by providing assistance to obtain equipment that will help mitigate the challenges to which these households are exposed.
This is why the Puerto Rico Department of Housing (PRDOH) will launch the Community Energy and Water Resilience Installations Program (CEWRI-CI).
This Program has been designed to assist households in vulnerable communities in the acquisition and installation of renewable energy systems and water storage systems to reduce household barriers to risk mitigation.
1. Community Selection
CEWRI-CI chooses the targeted communities through a direct selection method. The selection was based on data-driven analysis from various agencies and entities. Through the data collection made to determine the performance of the electrical feeder system after the passing of Hurricane Maria, the Program determined which communities would receive assistance. The communities that have been targeted have been the ones that have faced the longest electric service disruptions and that have the biggest number of affected residents.
2. Targeted Outreach and Data Collection
The Program will coordinate outreach events, which should be attended by members of the targeted communities. In these activities, community residents will learn about the CEWRI-CI Program, conditions required for preselection of communities, and next steps.
This meeting will result in a formal invitation to community members to apply and participate in the Program. Those interested will have to register during the informative session.
Those who have submitted their information during the informative sessions will be contacted to coordinate a visit to the property. The Program Managers will conduct a survey that will inform the development of the measures to be implemented in the community, define the scope of work, and present an= independent cost estimate to develop the Design-Build Procurement Package. Surveys will be collected and organized per community.
The Program will collect the required documentation which includes, but is not limited to:
- General information about the applicant
- Information about the household
- Property ownership title or proprietary interest over the residence
- Evidence that sustains there is no existing duplication of benefits
3. Intake and Elegibility
Community Energy and Water Resilience Installations household criteria include:
The property must be a single-family structure
The applicant household must use the property as their primary residence
At least one member of the applicant household must be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien
The household must be part of the targeted community
The household income must be between 0% and 200% of the established Area Median Family Income (AMFI) category.
4. Design and Environmental Review
Following data collection, the Program will assign a design-build contractor to design the project to achieve energy and water resilience.
The solutions will consider the various factors that may affect project implementation, such as the preliminary environmental review.
5. Grant Agreement
Upon completing the eligibility evaluation, the Program will notify applicants of an award determination. Households in the targeted communities that meet the eligibility requirements may receive a grant up to one hundred percent (100%) of the cost of the systems or forty thousand dollars ($40,000), whichever is less.
6. Installation and Inspection
After the grant agreement has been signed by PRDOH and the awardee, the installation process will begin. Upon completion of the project, the Program Manager will conduct a field inspection to ensure that the project complies with the construction documents and Program requirements.