LUCELEC Officially Opens Its Solar Farm
St. Lucia Electricity Services Limited (LUCELEC) hosted the official opening ceremony for its 3 megawatt (MW) solar farm in La Tourney, Vieux Fort on Thursday, August 9 at 3 p.m.
Governor General H.E. Sir Neville Cenac, Prime Minister Allen Chastanet, Minister for Energy Stephenson King, and former US President Bill Clinton, along with LUCELEC officials participated in the ribbon cutting to signify the formal opening of the solar farm.
The $20M project, located north of the Hewanorra International Airport is historic for Saint Lucia. It is the first utility-scale renewable energy project on the island and is funded, owned and operated by LUCELEC. Its nearly 15 thousand panels will generate approximately 7 million kWhs (or units) of electricity per year.
Construction of the solar farm began in November 2017 and the solar farm began feeding the grid in April this year when the entire 3 megawatts came online.
GRUPOTEC, an international firm with extensive, worldwide experience in developing solar plants undertook the engineering, procurement, and construction of the solar farm. The Clinton Climate Initiative, an initiative of the 42nd US President’s Clinton Foundation, provided technical assistance during the procurement process for the project. Rocky Mountain Institute and global energy and engineering advisory firm DNV GL assisted with project development, bid evaluation and contract negotiations for the project.
The 3MW solar farm meets about 5% of St. Lucia’s electricity demand and will reduce the volume of fuel purchased by LUCELEC by about 300 thousand gallons per year. LUCELEC uses approximately 20 million gallons of fuel per year.
The solar farm builds on the work LUCELEC has been doing with grid-tied roof top solar PV systems since 2009. It is expected to provide the impetus for more renewable energy initiatives, and in more ways than one, will change St. Lucia’s energy landscape.