CUC has awarded a contract for 5 megawatt (MW) plant to be built by Entropy Cayman Solar Limited on a 20-acre site. It will include over 21,000 poly-crystalline photovoltaic (solar) modules each with a DC-rated capacity of 305 watts and will be connected to CUC’s Bodden Town substation. The project will provide clean renewable solar energy for around 800 homes, reducing emissions and providing renewable energy at a competitive initial price of CI 14.28 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh).

Cayman’s first ever solar farm is expected to be completed by next October. The Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA) approved the agreement between CUC and the Pittsburgh-based International Electric Power LLC, which has created the local company Entropy Cayman Solar Limited to begin the project. The firm was selected after an RFP and a long selection process to ensure the right partner, CUC said in a release.

“This has been a prolonged but necessary process to ensure that we secured the right partner who could meet our goal to bring large-scale renewable energy to Grand Cayman’s electricity consumers,” said President and CEO of CUC, Richard Hew. “This project will provide clean energy at a competitive and stable price to consumers and represents a large step in the ongoing development of a diversified and environmentally sustainable energy sector. As solar energy is intermittent, firm generation sources such as diesel powered generation are required to provide stable power to the grid.”

ERA Managing Director Charles Farrington said he hoped this would be the first of many utility scale renewable energy projects to replace fossil fuel generated electricity.

“Our consultants have evaluated the levelized cost of this energy to be approximately CI 16 cents per kWh over the 25 year life of the PPA. Over that period we expect that this cost will lower consumers’ costs compared to diesel whilst eliminating the price volatility and greenhouse gas emissions of the fossil fuel displaced,” he said, adding that the ERA is now developing a new RFP for additional solar resources.

David March, the Managing Partner of Entropy Investment Management (Entropy), the company managing the project, said the facility was the first step in a new energy future for the Cayman Islands.

“We are excited to be a contributing partner in the country’s quest for sustainable and renewable energy independence,” he said. “Entropy looks forward to working with the ERA and CUC to develop additional energy cost saving projects.”

Excerpts from: Cayman News Service