Puerto Rico Convention
Center Runs Off-Grid
INDEPENDENT OPERATION WITH PV PANELS
The Puerto Rico Convention Center has about 20,000 solar panels on building
and parking structures. A private investment
of $26 million covered the installation costs.
On a sunny day, the panels can run the convention center with solar power, off the grid.
Solar panel market size is in a signifi-
cant period of growth, with Global Market
Insights reporting that it will rise from $65
billion in 2015 to more than $140 billion by
One place investing heavily in a solar
power system is the Puerto Rico Convention
Center, which powers its building with about
20,000 solar panels installed on parking and
building structures about four years ago.
On a sunny day – of which there are
many on the tropical island – the solar pan-
interruption in energy service; on a rainy or
cloudy day, Perez notes, the building transi-
tions from solar power to back on the grid.
And there are power generators that can
power the whole building, he explains.
Tips for Operating Off
Get up and running easily: The Puerto
Rico project took four months to install solar
power, but “once they’re installed, it’s basically plug and play,” Perez says. “Nobody
has to be turning off or on switches.”
Keep them maintained: The Puerto Rico
Convention Center partners with a company that continuously monitors the panels
and their solar power output. This includes
cleaning them on a daily basis, making sure
they are running and handling any preventative maintenance necessary.
Perez calls the convention center energy
conservation efforts a “novel project” for
the island. It’s the biggest project so far in
Puerto Rico, he says.
els not only produce enough energy for the
convention center to operate fully off the
grid but can also produce excess consumption that’s sold to the Puerto Rico Electric
This is the largest solar energy project in
Puerto Rico, and it's being used as a model
for both the island and the Caribbean, notes
Jorge Perez, General Manager at the Puerto
Rico Convention Center. There won’t be an
20,000 SOLAR PANELS on parking structures and buildings keep the Puerto Rico
Convention Center functioning independently from the electrical grid.
Los Angeles took the top honors in the EPA’s 10th annual Top Cities rankings, which honors the metropolitan areas
with the most buildings earning ENERGY
STAR certification each year.
With 716 structures certified during
the last calendar year, the City of Angels
regained the highest ranking, exceeding its
2016 certification count by 185 buildings.
Washington, D.C., has placed first for the
past three years, but this year fell to second
with 661 newly certified buildings. Dallas
skipped three spots to land at third with
468, and Atlanta and New York City took
fourth and fifth with 441 and 434 ENERGY
STAR certified buildings, respectively.
“Earning a spot on the ENERGY STAR Top
Cities list is a recognition of commitment
to cutting building-related energy costs
Administrator for Air and Radiation Bill
Wehrum. “With help from ENERGY STAR,
city leaders and building owners are work-
ing together to strengthen their economies,
foster competition and create a healthier
A building that has earned ENERGY
STAR certification is more energy-efficient
than 75% of similar buildings nationwide.
Facilities managers use the EPA’s free
Portfolio Manager tool to verify building
Portfolio Manager is often the bench-
The Top 10 Cities
for ENERGY STAR
HOW DOES YOUR CITY RANK?
marking framework of choice for sustainable cities that require buildings to report
energy and water consumption. This energy
efficiency strategy was implemented in Los
Angeles last year for commercial and mul-tifamily buildings over 100,000 square feet.
The new requirement might be the reason
that so many LA-area buildings applied for
certification last year. The buildings that
gained certification in 2017 are now saving roughly $229 million per year on their
energy bills and avoiding the emission of
428,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide. B
Rank Metro Area 2017 Certified Buildings Cost Savings (in millions)
1 Los Angeles 716 $229
2 Washington, D.C. 661 $174
3 Dallas 468 $65
4 Atlanta 441 $84
5 New York 434 $261
6 SanFrancisco 378 $186
7 Chicago 339 $129
8 Phoenix 303 $60
9 Denver 265 $60
10 Houston 247 $72
THESE 10 CITIES had the most buildings earning ENERGY STAR certification in 2017.
Washington, D.C., fell to second place after three years at the top.