Business

Dom Rep power company eyes 7MW solar farm

BY CAMILO THAME Business co-ordinator thamec@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, February 21, 2014    

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DOMINICAN Republic power holding company, InterEnergy, is looking to build a seven megawatt (MW) photovoltaic (PV) solar power facility in the easternmost part of the Caribbean country.

The US$17-million ($1.8-billion) project, which involves the use of 35,800 solar panels to cover 20 hectares (49.4 acres) of land, is expected to take 10 to 14 months to complete (including four to six months of planning) once financing is secured.

InterEnergy's subsidiary, Consorcio Energético Punta Cana-Macao (CEPM), has already applied to the World Bank's private finance arm, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), for funding.

The IFC said that it is considering a corporate loan to CEPM of up to US$8.5 million and a concessional loan for the other half of the project cost from IFC-managed Canada Climate Change Programme (CCCP).

European contractor, Sofos-IBC — a joint venture between IBC of Germany and Sofos of Spain -- is to undertake the project, while the PV modules will be supplied by IBC or Yingli of China.

The project, which will be the first utility-scale PV solar project in the Dominican Republic, is to be situated on privately owned land that can accommodate expansion over a further 10.82 hectares.

InterEnergy also operates Compañía de Electricidad de San Pedro de Macorís (CESPM), an independent power producer with a dual-fired 300 MW electricity generation plant, and its affiliate, Empresa Generadora de Electricidad Haina (EGE Haina), the country's largest generation company with about 850 MW in total installed capacity.

As a result, the solar farm will increase CEPM's existing thermal generation facilities and displace their dispatch for fuel cost savings. It also provides CEPM with a hedge against the fluctuation in fossil fuel prices, the largest power generation cost component, through the clean, zero-emission technology - PV solar, which is ideal for the utility serving tourism development.

Although small, the project is being viewed as a pilot project that can potentially pave the way for larger PV solar projects interconnected to the national grid.

"As the country's first utility-scale PV solar project, it is expected to have substantial demonstration effects to facilitate other renewable investments in the country," said IFC documents.

In Jamaica, WRB Enterprises Inc has been approved to construct and supply 20MW of capacity from solar PV from facilities in Content Village, Clarendon.

The Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) recently announced that it has moved up the date for the signing of the power purchase agreements (PPAs) for three entities selected to provide 78 MW of renewable energy capacity.

"They are now expected to sign the PPAs with Jamaica Public Service in February 2014 instead of the June 2014 original date," said the OUR in a press statement issued last week.

"Given the country's imperative under the National Energy Policy, the regulatory body is keen to have the agreements signed as a step towards the official start and eventual completion of the projects," said OUR's director general, Albert Gordon.

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