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Why Tiny Solar Projects Play an Outsized Role in Powering Puerto Rico

Adoption of rooftop solar panels has surged on the Caribbean island as it contends with high energy costs and frequent outages. 

Residential buildings in the Condado neighborhood of San Juan, Puerto Rico, in November 2021. 

Residential buildings in the Condado neighborhood of San Juan, Puerto Rico, in November 2021. 

Photographer: Xavier Garcia/Bloomberg

On a given sunny day in Puerto Rico, more than 37,100 rooftop solar installations—mounted atop homes, gas stations, malls and hospitals—churn out 255 megawatts of electricity. 

That’s only about 2.5% of the island’s overall power generation. But collectively, the rooftops might be considered Puerto Rico’s largest clean power plant, dwarfing the 101-megawatt Santa Isabel wind farm, the island’s largest renewable generator.