Cayman’s first solar farm commissioned

| 20/06/2017 | 36 Comments

CUC president and CEO Richard Hew symbolically switches on solar farm

(CNS): Calling the event historic, CUC president and CEO Richard Hew, along with project and government representatives, officially commissioned Cayman’s first solar farm Tuesday, 20 June at CUC’s facility in Bodden Town, which is expected to generate enough electricity to power more than 800 homes. Hew, Ministry Councillor Austin Harris, Project Manager Emil Neef and J. Paul Morgan, CEO of the Utility Regulation and Competition Office (known as OfReg), each symbolically closed a switch to bring the facility online. In reality, the facility has been producing electricity for “about the last three weeks”, Hew said. CUC had been testing the farm ahead of the official opening.

Addressing those gathered for the event, Hew thanked project partner Entropy Investment Management for working with CUC to “make history”. The solar farm marks the first in what is hoped to be other renewable energy projects, he said.

“While the completion of the project took a little longer than initially anticipated the lessons learned in the process have now provided us with a template which will allow us to commence with future projects in a much shorter timeframe,” Hew said, adding, “CUC is committed to and continues to support and embrace renewable energy”, as he also addressed the use of diesel-generated electricity.

“Diesel will continue to generation has served us extremely well and will continue to serve us in the future. However, I believe what we see here in Bodden Town today is a watershed event and I anticipate that going forward we will see the rapid adoption of renewable energy and the diminished reliance on fossil fuels to generate electricity.

“CUC and its customers will be able to reduce exhaust gases and reduce the use of fossil fuels and contribute to the overall protection of the environment while stabilising the cost of electricity.”

Noting the price difference between diesel and solar, he said, “Stable prices as well as low average prices are very important to electricity consumers and the price of solar technology has finally reached a level where the energy purchased from this plant is nearly down to the cost of diesel as it is today, and close enough that the difference is worth paying for to decrease the exposure to diesel price instability.”

As for other sources of renewable energy, he talked about the company’s Integrated Resource Plan. “The conclusion of this study will help CUC to determine how to pursue further integration of renewable and other sources of energy such as natural gas, which will diversify our energy sources, stabilise prices and reduce our environmental footprint,” he said.

Hew explained that ahead of the final findings of the study, CUC “has set a target of about 25% of all energy on the grid coming from renewable energy sources by the year 2025”.

While acknowledging people may find that timeframe very long, “to get to 25% by using solar alone would require 100MW of solar capacity or 20 of these (solar farm) projects taking up approximately 500 acres of land, or rooftops, and costing approximately $250 million”, he explained, adding that price tag would not include the cost of storage batteries.

David March, founding partner of Entropy, spoke to the particular challenges of building the solar farm in Cayman. “This is a uniquely Caymanian project. There is no solar farm in the world like this one. It has unique challenges in Cayman because we are basically a rock. We also have issues in getting parts down here and everything else,” he said, adding, “The design is purely Caymanian and also built by Caymanians.”

Calling the facility a steppingstone, March added, “We hope with the education and experience that everyone has acquired in building this it’s only the first and we will step on and do more and more and more.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Tags: , , ,

Category: Local News, Utilities

Comments (36)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Anonymous says:

    One day there will be a “good news” story and not even the chief naysayers will be able to just complain, complain, complain and complain. I do look forward to that day.

  2. Solar Caymanian says:

    I put in my own solar panels last year and now using all the energy I need, CUC pays ME over $100.00 a month for the excess I generate.

  3. Haranguer says:

    We hold the world record for the most expensive solar power coming out of a Solar utility for 2017. We have been screwed by the man again .
    Make sure to thank your politician for looking out for you.
    We have been screwed over for diesel and gasoline for 20 years the screwing has begun with solar power enjoy.

  4. Anonymous says:

    what about thatcompany some years ago that wanted an under sea power out at north side? using currents to generate electricity? i think it was calkec greem something??

  5. Kadafe says:

    A historic event indeed, the most expensive solar powered electricity to be found anywhere! CUC shareholders will be smiling all year now. CUC now has a solar farm which costs less to produce electricity but will be sold at the ever increasing rate of burning diesel. Way to go CUC you have found a way to save yourself money, a way which the public will never get to see, looking forward to your next rate increase as soon as your allowed to do so!

    • Anonymous says:

      To Kadafe at 4:57 am. It would do the readers more good if when you write your information is factual.
      CUC does not own a Solar Farm. The Solar Farm at Bodden Town is owned by Entropy.

      • Anonymous says:

        Yeah and we just love Entropy so we gave them a price that is 4 times the going rate for power anywhere else in the world.
        We are the laughing stock of the Solar industry.
        Who owns Entropy anyway?

      • Kadafe says:

        Ok. Regardless of who it’s owned by, the point remains the same. Do you think electricity rates will be reduced with the new solar farm? I think not, the owners will sell it to CUC and they will sell to us for the same rate as diesel created electricity, And to add to that since you kindly pointed out it’s not owned but CUC maybe that could be the reason that they were allowed to increase their rates? Either way, screwed again. It’s still being sold by CUC.

  6. Anonymous says:

    If I get solar panels do I still have to connect to the grid?

  7. Anonymous says:

    7% guaranteed ROI?

  8. Anonymous says:

    Welcome to the 20th Century! I’m from the Cambridgeshire/Norfolk area in England, which is not exactly noted for its sunny climate, and we’ve had viable projects like this for years. Everywhere you go there are also privately-owned solar panels or solar water heaters on the roofs and all the farmers use small wind generators in remote locations. I bet it really hurt Richard Hew to hook up what he must already know is the start of a death sentence on CUC’s diesel-generated power monopoly.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Solar electricity can be used for some fantastic purposes without getting CUC involved.
    You can use a small amount of solar to power fans, lights and internet.
    You can use solar to make water (Atmospheric Water Generation by Ecoloblue)
    You can use the water produced above for drinking and to grow amazing vegetables.
    I do this all.

    CUC do not need to be a part of this equation. Why would you give them your precious solar so they can mark it up and sell it on.

    No, use your solar for yourself. The sun shone on you, use it.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I am genuinely interested to know if iguanas will cause problems for these. Does anyone who has them on the roof know if iguanas cause any issues with yours?

  11. StopTheCrime says:

    A great start, but we now need to expand this program (and permanently address the legal/governmental/financial barriers which make it difficult). All new construction should be permitted to tie solar roof panels into the grid.

  12. Anonymous says:

    would work well in brac y little cayman…they hardly get rainfall/clouds and a lot hotter than here….?

  13. Anonymous says:

    but CUC, just increased by 1.6% … so whats the use of solar power ???

    • Anonymous says:

      What, you don’t think they will charge us any less do you? They are marking up the cost from the solar farm to match what they supplier to us the public – no savings for us, but yes for CUC. They claim its for infrastructure etc, but that is already in place…. You just know the public won’t get any benefit out of this.

    • Anonymous says:

      Ripoff, solar power isn’t the problem, the Cayman Mafia is the problem.

  14. Anonymous says:

    I don’t believe it! Finally some positive news on CNS! Feels like the first time in weeks.

    • Anonymous says:

      That’s not CNS’s fault. Cayman has been falling apart under the previous and, once again, current government. Don’t shoot the messenger.

    • Anonymous says:

      what exactly is the positive news?

      Idiots with “solar” go green.

      Who does it really benefit here?

      You? Me? No…only one entity. CUC.

  15. Anonymous says:

    One small step forward. Only ripples from a stone in a pond now, but hopefully a step in the right direction away from unsustainable diesel power generation.

  16. Flying Spaghetti Monster FTW says:

    Solar, hyrdo, wind turbines and nuclear energy. The future is now.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.