ByJonathan Touriño Jacobo

DEPCOM Power, a provider of engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) work, is midway through construction on what it has called Puerto Rico’s “largest” solar-plus-storage project.

Located in Salinas, the Ciro One project is expected to begin operations at the end of 2024. It will have a capacity of 90MW for solar PV and a battery energy storage system (BESS) with an output of 51.5MW, which integrates a lithium-titanate oxide (LTO) battery. Once operational, the EPC firm will also operate and maintain the solar-plus-storage plant for five years.

The PV system has been designed to withstand hurricane-force winds – which the island is prone to experience, and was severely hit by hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017 – with a lower panel tilt angle and east/west orientation, while inverters include salt fog filters to mitigate effects of salinity on the system’s power electronics. The plant is built alongside developer Ciro Energy Group and local subcontractor Lord Construction.

Moreover, due to the limited availability of land on the island, the project will also implement a pilot project for agrivoltaics, with one of the PV arrays built alongside land used for sheep grazing, and which will be used for demonstration and scalability of the concept for future implementation.

“Isolated from typical supply lines, Puerto Rico needs solutions that reduce electricity costs, improve grid reliability, and accelerate renewable energy deployment,” said DEPCOM director of energy storage, Nadja Gocek. “Our mutually beneficial cooperation with local Puerto Rico experts balances long-term reliability and performance with land optimisation to create a uniquely symbiotic solution that the community needs.”

Utility-scale projects in Puerto Rico are scarce due to the limited land available on the island, while its residential market is much more developed. This was fast-tracked after the territory was hit by hurricanes Irma and Maria, which put the island in a total blackout. These unfortunate events boosted interest in and consciousness of solar-plus-storage on the island’s residential market, as covered in a recent PV Tech Premium article.