The World's #1 Renewable Energy Network for News, Information, and Companies.

US Export-Import Bank Helping To Bring Solar Power To the Caribbean

A $6.4 million Ex-Im Bank loan guarantee for the export of solar modules from West Coast-based SolarWorld Americas to Williams Industries Inc.-Williams EverGREEN Ltd. of St. Thomas, Barbados will establish the largest rooftop solar system south of Puerto Rico while supporting jobs at three U.S. companies.

The 10-year PNC Bank loan and its guarantor Ex-Im allowed Williams Industries-Williams EverGREEN Ltd to install 1.4 megawatts of on-site solar power on 10 manufacturing, warehouse and retail sites within the Williams Group portfolio.  Nine of the 10 sites are already online, says Andre Gibson, a director for Williams EverGREEN Ltd., providing the company a net revenue gain and displacing approximately 20% of its fossil fuel-driven generation.

In addition to panels from SolarWorld Americas, a subsidiary of SolarWorld AG, the 1.4 MW system features engineering services from CH2M HILL of Colorado, and solar-system racking from Schletter Inc. US.  Although ExIm and SolarWorld spokespersons said it is difficult to assess how many U.S. jobs the deal would generate, they agreed it certainly supports all of the three firms’ existing workers in California, Oregon and Arizona.

“The Caribbean is a real potential market.  Whenever you have all of your generation with imported fuel, you’re really talking about a significantly high cost, of 30-40 cents/kwh, and with a lot of sunshine, solar is a natural fit,” says Raju Yenamandra, vice president of sales and business development for SolarWorld.  He added that local financing, however, can be problematic, and indeed the loan guarantee rates from ExIm Bank were more attractive than local rates in Barbados. ExIm bank spokesman Steve Horning said the bank wants to use the Barbados project “as a model to do projects throughout the Caribbean.”

Long a leader in solar thermal heating, with two of five Barbadian households sporting a solar heater, Barbados has demonstrated a political will to become the greenest energy user in the region over the next 15-20 years, says Gibson.  “The utility is buying the power we generate at 1.8 times the fuel charge. We started bringing sites online since June.  In August, with 5 plants, we were paying the utility 53 Barbados cents/kwh (US$0.26/kwh), and they would be paying us 74 cents/kwh (US$0.37/kwh) per site,” for a net gain of 21 cents/kwh (US$0.10) per site, Gibson said.

That tariff, known as the Renewable Energy Rider, officially ended on June 30, but Barbados Power & Light agreed to honor it until a replacement feed-in tariff (FIT) is established, probably by year-end. “Rumors are that the [fuel charge] multiple will go down at the end of the year because fuel is up by about 25%,” he said.

In parallel, however, the Barbadian Government is already changing legislation to allow it to issue Independent Power Producer licenses for large commercial installations, and will establish a second FIT for those.  Gibson said Williams EverGREEN aims to build a 10-15 MW ground-mounted plant with one of those licenses.  

Williams Industries, established in 1972, controls 13 wholly owned and 17 joint venture companies in Barbados, St. Lucia and other Caribbean islands.  The companies are active in manufacturing, electrical engineering, construction, agriculture, tourism waste recycling, real estate development, and water desalination.

Barbados accounted for approximately $3.8 million of the Bank’s worldwide credit exposure as of the end of FY 2011.  The Bank’s Environmental Export Program offers enhancements such as repayment terms of up to 18 years for eligible U.S. exports to renewable energy and water-related projects.

Other large Caribbean solar projects include AES Ilumina’s 24-MW solar facility that was announced late last year for Guayama in southern Puerto Rico.

RELATED ARTICLES

Green microphone podcast

Listen Up: Does Solar Increase the Value of my House?

The Energy Show on Renewable Energy World I bet you don’t know that there is a home improvement investment that you can make that will increase the value of your house more than the investment cost. It’s not remodeling your bathroom (2 percent return). It’s not lan...
money pile

Deeper Capital Markets for Renewable Energy

Tomas Gardfors and Ann Vesely, Norton Rose Fulbright Following the global financial crisis, a more diversified funding market is developing in Europe. Institutional investors are helping to fill the funding gap left by the contraction in bank lending in the wake of the crisis...
Clean planet

Renewable Energy Responsible for First Ever Carbon Emissions Stabilization

Vince Font, Contributing Editor Carbon emissions in 2014 remained at the previous year’s levels of 32.3 billion metric tons — a milestone that points to the impact worldwide renewable energy investment is having in the face of a 1.5 percent annual increas...
IRENA Global Atlas Pocket

Finding Renewable Energy Opportunities: There's an App for That

Vince Font, Contributing Editor The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) just released a new smartphone app called the Global Atlas Pocket that can turn your smartphone or tablet into your very own personal renewable energy prospector —...
Marsha W. Johnston is a freelance writer based in the DC area, specializing in all areas of sustainable development, from renewable energy to agriculture and wildlife conservation.

CURRENT MAGAZINE ISSUE

Volume 18, Issue 3
1505REW_C11

STAY CONNECTED

To register for our free
e-Newsletters, subscribe today:

SOCIAL ACTIVITY

Tweet the Editors! @megcichon @jennrunyon

FEATURED PARTNERS



EVENTS

SAP for Utilities

The SAP for Utilities conference is the most comprehensive SAP for Utili...

Training: Preparing for Rule 21 - SPI 2015

What: Rule 21 Training When: September 16th @ 4:30-5:30pm Wher...

Training: NEC 2014, AFDI, & Rapid Shutdown - SPI 2015

What: NEC 2014, AFDI, & Rapid Shutdown When: September 15t...

COMPANY BLOGS

8 Bad Habits Of Communication

Effective communication is essential in building rapport and closing sal...

Powerpoint Or Stream Of Consciousness

Before you create a presentation, you have to ask yourself, “What ...

The Almost There Markets: Just Give ‘Em Some Time

Earlier this year, we reported on recent legalization of third party fin...

NEWSLETTERS

Renewable Energy: Subscribe Now

Solar Energy: Subscribe Now

Wind Energy: Subscribe Now

Geothermal Energy: Subscribe Now

Bioenergy: Subscribe Now  

 

FEATURED PARTNERS