SEIA estimates that by June 2020 solar jobs will be down by 38%

The precise COVIC 19 pandemic impact on the solar industry is yet to be determined, but some organizations estimated the effect on jobs and the market. The document linked below summarizes the forecast for the next months and actions needed to mitigate the economic impact on our industry.

COVID 19 impact on the solar industry

Reapertura industria solar COVID 19

La Orden Ejecutiva 2020-038 que entra en vigor hoy, 4 de mayo de 2020, indica en su Sexta sección titulada Servicios exentos al cierre, 5 (c) que a partir del 11 de mayo de 2020 están incluidos las empresas dedicadas a la “Venta, instalación, reparación y mantenimiento de sistemas de producción de energía basados en energía renovable o alterna”. Así mismo, en el número 13 de la misma sección se indica que se incluyen en los servicios exentos al cierre “Suplido y distribución de artículos para los sectores exentos del cierre siempre y cuando se tomen las medidas cautelares de para mitigar el contagio”. Esto faculta a la industria de energía solar a reanudar sus operaciones en todas sus divisiones[1]. Para ello, es necesario cumplir con lo dispuesto en la Carta Circular 2020-03 del Departamento del Trabajo y Recursos Humanos.

La Carta Circular 2020-03 incluida en esta comunicación requiere, requiere que los patronos exentos del cierre presenten una autocertificación al DTRH en la que afirmen que cuentan con un Plan de Manejo de Riesgo previo a la apertura del negocio. Cada patrono es responsable de realizar evaluaciones de riesgos en sus lugares de trabajo y establecer los controles de riesgos adecuados para cada lugar.

Los patronos exentos del cierre y que interesen reanudar sus operaciones deberán desarrollar e implementar un Plan de Control de Exposición al COVID-19 someterlo junto con la Autocertificación Patronal creada por el DTRH incluida en este correo electrónico, previo a la apertura de su negocio. La Autocertificación Patronal deberá ser completada en todas sus partes y firmada por el patrono o un representante autorizado del mismo. Se incluye documento de Autocertificación en este correo electrónico. Dicho documento deberá ser enviado, junto al Plan de Control de Exposición al COVID-19, al siguiente correo electrónico: [email protected]

Para conocer los elementos de seguridad esenciales con los que debe cumplir en el Plan de Control de Exposición antes reanudar operaciones, favor de referirse a la Carta Circular 2020-03 del DTRH, página 3. Una vez completado y sometido el Plan de Control y la Autocertificación, podrá comenzar a operar su negocio y se entenderá que las facilidades se ajustan a los parámetros establecidos por PR OSHA y el CDC. PR OSHA podrá comunicarse con el patrono o visitar el lugar de trabajo para corroborar el cumplimiento con la información certificada; o hacer señalamientos sobre cualquier deficiencia en el Plan de Control de Exposición al COVID-19 sometido, que deberá ser corregida, sujeto a los procedimientos administrativos aplicables.

Cabe señalar que aquellos patronos que se encuentran operando previo a la aprobación de la OE-2020-038, deberán presentar la Autocertificación Patronal y el Plan de Control de Exposición al COVID- 19 lo antes posible. De necesitar asesoría, pueden comunicarse con el Programa de Consultoría de PR OSHA para información o asesoramiento al 787-705-6678 o escribir a [email protected]

Por último, recomendamos revisar la Guía sobre la Preparación de los lugares de trabajo para el virus COVID-19, hoja informativa sobre Riesgo de exposición de los trabajadores a COVID-19 ambos documentos de OSHA y el documento Guidance for Solar Installers, EPCs and O&M Service Providers on Managing Through the COVID-19 Pandemic preparado por Solar Energy Industry Association.

[1] Recomendamos repasar la Sección Octava de Medidas Cautelares, Sección decimoctava sobre Planes de Manejo de Riesgos de Contagios en el Lugar de Trabajo y la Sección Vigésima sobre Incumplimiento incluidas en la OE 2020-038.

Documentos Importantes:

Orden Ejecutiva 2020-038
Carta Circular 2020-03 del Departamento del Trabajo y Recursos Humanos. 

Autocertificación Patronal
 Guía sobre la Preparación de los lugares de trabajo para el virus COVID-19
Hoja informativa sobre Riesgo de exposición de los trabajadores a COVID-19 
Guidance for Solar Installers, EPCs and O&M Service Providers on Managing Through the COVID-19 Pandemic

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Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act CARES Act

On March 27, 2020, President Trump signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, a package of measures created to alleviate the economic impact of the COVID19 pandemic. This act provides emergency assistance and health care response for individuals, families, and businesses affected by the COVID-19. The most relevant measures for small businesses are summarized below.

1. Paycheck Protection Program:  sets $350 billion in government-backed loans from private banks that can, in some cases, be converted to grants, which means that if you meet the requirements, businesses won't need to pay the loan back.

a. Eligibility: Small businesses with fewer than 500 employees. Note: Businesses, even without a personal guarantee or collateral, can apply one of these loans as long as they were operational on February 15, 2020, and had paid employees at that time (even if the owner is the only employee).

b. Loan's terms: Loans under the Paycheck Protection Act can be 2.5 times the borrower's average monthly payroll costs, and they cannot exceed $10 million. Interest .5% and loans mature after two years. No personal guarantee or collateral is required. The lenders are expected to defer fees, principal, and interest for no less than six months and no more than one year. Loan payments will be deferred for six months.

c. Important points: Lenders will also ask you for a good faith certification that:

     o The loan is needed to support ongoing operations.

     o The loan will be used to retain workers, maintain payroll, and pay for the mortgage, lease, and utility payments.

    o The borrower does not have a pending application for a similar loan; and o The borrower did not get a similar loan between February 15, 2020, and December 31, 2020. 

d. Loan forgiveness: If employers continue paying employees at normal levels during the eight weeks following the origination of the loan, then the amount they spent on payroll costs (excluding costs for any compensation above $100,000 annually), mortgage interest, rent payments, and utility payments can be combined, and that portion of the loan will be forgiven. Businesses that rehire workers that were laid off prior to the loan origination will not be penalized. If businesses can restore normal payroll in the eight weeks, they should be able to get the loan forgiven, effectively making the loan a grant. e. When can a business apply?

    • On April 3, 2020, small businesses and sole proprietorships can begin applying for these loans.
    • On April 10, 2020, independent contractors and self-employed individuals can begin applying.

Note: Apply as quickly as you can because there is a funding cap. 

2. SBA's Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs): An existing program. CARES Act expanded eligibility

a. Eligibility: Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) with fewer than 500 employees.

b. Approval: EIDLs can be approved by the SBA based solely on an applicant's credit score. Loans smaller than $200,000 can be approved without a personal guarantee.

c. Emergency Cash Grant: Borrowers can receive a $10,000 emergency grant cash advance that can be forgiven if spent on paid leave, maintaining payroll, increased costs due to supply chain disruption, mortgage or lease payments or repaying obligations that cannot be met due to revenue losses.

Important: Small businesses can get both an EIDL and a Paycheck Protection Program loan as long as they don't pay for the same expenses.

3. Business tax changes: CARES act, Title II Business Provisions stipulated

a. Business is eligible for an employee retention tax credit if the operations were fully or partially suspended due to a COVID-19 shut-down order, or 2.) gross receipts declined by more than 50% compared to the same quarter in the prior year. Aid provided: 50% tax credit refund on wages up to $10,000 per employee. The credit can be obtained on wages paid or incurred from March 13, 2020, through December 31, 2020.

b. Businesses and self-employed individuals can delay their payroll tax payments. These payments, the employer share of Social Security tax owed for 2020, can instead be deferred and paid over the next two years. Fifty percent must be paid by the end of 2021, and 50% must be paid by the end of 2022. (Note: The ability to defer these taxes does not apply to a business that has a Paycheck Protection loan forgiven.)

c. Business with net operating losses (NOLs) in a tax year beginning in 2018, 2019, or 2020 that NOL can be now be carried back five years instead. d. Businesses that were due to receive corporate alternative minimum tax (AMT) credits at the end of 2021 can instead claim a refund now.

For more Business tax changes included in the CARES Act, please access:

4. Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)

a. Paid family and medical leave (FMLA) are capped at $200 per day and $10,000 total per employee.

b. Paid sick leave under the FFCRA is capped at $511 per day and $5,110 total per employee. This amount drops to $200 per day and $2000 total for sick leave taken by an employee in order to care for a family member in quarantine or care for a child whose school has closed.

c. Workers that were laid off after March 1, 2020, but then rehired, are eligible for paid FMLA leave provisions described in the FFCRA immediately instead of needing to be an employee for 30 days.

d. Businesses can keep money that they would have deposited for payroll taxes in anticipation of refunds from the Treasury Department for paid sick leave and paid FMLA to leave outlined by the FFCRA, including amounts that would have been refunded later. 

For more details, please access: