A GRAND solar system

Spanish hotel to save millions with PV installation

Wednesday, June 18, 2014    

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GRAND Palladium Resort and Spa in Hanover is set to save over $80 million (roughly US$730,000) in energy costs per year with the recent installation of a solar photovoltaic (PV) power plant at the resort, renewable energy company Sofos Jamaica Ltd has announced.

It was Sofos that installed the system, touted to be the largest solar power PV plant in the island to date.

Covering the rooftops of 28 villas as well as the spa, the system comprises 6,336 solar modules/panels and 67 inverters. All told, it covers around 17,000 m2 of physical space and has a generating capacity in excess of 2.2 million kWh per year.

That makes it the biggest solar PV roof plant in Jamaica, and the first to be interconnected to the grid, says Business Development Manager at Sofos David PiJuan.

"It is a 1.6 MW self-consumption solar PV roof system interconnected to the grid, he told the Jamaica Observer. "The system is grid inter-connected with a blocking system that avoids injecting energy back to the grid," he continued.

That feature too, he said, is a first in the island.

As gargantuan as the specifications make it, however, the system, which was unveiled two-and-a-half weeks ago, will only provide between 12 and 15 per cent of the resort's energy needs. That notwithstanding, the resort is expected to save millions of dollars on its electricity bills per year, and that, according to the hotel's management, make the investment a win-win.

"The project represented a total investment of US$3.4 million, which is expected to see full return on its investments after four years and US$21.9 million in energy savings after 30 years," Sofos said in a statement released to the media.

According to Sofos, Grand Palladium General Manager Jose Morgan said the hotel was pleased to be pioneers in the industry insofar as being the first hotel in Jamaica to embark on a renewable energy investment of such massive proportions.

"In the end, it's a win-win; your pocket will win, the tourism sector will win, Jamaica as a destination will win," Morgan said, encouraging other hotels to undertake similar investments.

CEO of Sofos Group Juan Mayoral highlighted the company's commitment to helping Jamaican businesses become less dependent on the national grid and emphasised that Sofos offers the highest quality and best service in the business.

"This is the first major project for us in Jamaica, but we are already working with Digicel Jamaica and in the Tryall Golf Club in Hanover. We also have many other projects with different Jamaican companies that will begin soon," he said. Mayoral also thanked German solar manufacturer IBC Solar for partnership on the project.

Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining Phillip Paulwell, who was present at the handover, reportedly told the gathering that the Government was making sure that small hoteliers can invest in renewable energy solutions and announced that based on current trajectory, solar will become the cheapest energy source by 2030 if the country continues to benefit from economies of scale.

Meanwhile, Spanish Ambassador to Jamaica Her Excellency Celsa Nuno in her remarks said, "This project by Sofos Jamaica redefines the Spanish leadership in renewable energy."

She is also quoted as saying that Sofos' arrival in Jamaica was timely and of critical importance to institutions and companies such as Grand Palladium,

"...And it makes perfect economic sense for a country like Jamaica with high energy costs," said Nuno.

Accordign to Sofos, the sytem has low maintenance, is lightweight, and is specially designed for the Caribbean in being able to resist hurricanes up to category 4.

"The PV systems are also equipped with a Sofos customised software which allows instant information access via the Internet on any device from anywhere in the world, as well as stop system alerts and notifications by e-mail or SMS," the company said.

Sofos Jamaica was incorporated in 2013 and specialises in commercial and industrial turnkey PV systems. The parent company was launched in Barcelona in 2004 and has since expanded to Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and the United States. The Sofos Group has executed 250 PV installations worldwide, with more than 30 in the Caribbean.

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