The largest solar generation plus energy storage project ever to be built in the Caribbean has been announced by the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis, the state-owned St. Kitts Electric Company (SKELEC) and Leclanché SA (SIX: LECN), one of the world's leading energy storage companies.
The Honorable Ian Patches Liburd, St. Kitts and Nevis Minister of Public Infrastructure, Post, Urban Development and Transport, said: "We are set to embark on this vital solar+storage project as a key part of our renewable energy thrust that is critical to the future development of our country."
The 35.6 MW solar energy plant and 44.2 MWh battery storage facility will be built on government provided land in the Basseterre Valley, adjacent to the City of Basseterre and the current SKELEC PowerStation on the island of St. Kitts. It will provide the residents of this Caribbean twin-island Federation with a reliable and renewable clean energy source with fixed cost savings compared to the current diesel-generated power system. The system will provide between 25-30% of the nation's current power generation needs, while displacing the same amount of diesel-generated capacity.
"The solar storage project will help solidify the financial strength of SKELEC over the next 20+ years, while substantially reducing the islands' fuel cost over that period," said Liburd. "The expected fuel avoidance cost from the installation of the solar farm will not only be beneficial to the energy demand of the Federation but represents that most viable option for securing SKELEC's financial future."
Leclanché will serve as the prime engineering, procurement and construction contractor for the installation of both the solar photovoltaic (PV) system and battery energy storage system (BESS).
"We want to thank Prime Minister Timothy Harris, Public Infrastructure Minister Liburd, the Government of St. Kitts-Nevis, and the SKELEC Board and Executive Team for their tremendous vision, cooperation and efforts in support of this exciting project," said Anil Srivastava, CEO of Leclanché. "This project marks the first time a megawatt-scale solar energy system, stabilized by a state-of-the art lithium battery energy storage system, can be utilized to provide true 'base load' power for a utility on a Caribbean island. It sends a strong signal to other Caribbean countries, and those around the world, that there is a cleaner, more cost-efficient and viable alternative to diesel power."
Minister Liburd said, "We are pleased to partner with Leclanché, one of the world's leading energy storage solution providers, in this milestone project for the citizens of St. Kitts and Nevis. The solar and battery storage project represents a giant step forward in the government's efforts to ensure a clean, safe and affordable energy future for our country. This project offers many benefits for our residents, businesses and the millions of tourists who visit St. Kitts and Nevis each year."
The government recently approved an allocation of land for the project site which will be provided under a lease between the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis and the project company. SKELEC and Leclanché have already entered into a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) which ensures the system will supply essential power capacity for St. Kitts for many years to come.
Leclanché has established a St. Kitts special purpose vehicle (SPV) along with local partner Solrid, to fund, own and operate the facility. Once the energy generation and storage project is completed and delivered, Leclanché will be responsible for the management of all project operations, maintenance and equipment warranties.
"SKELEC's leadership in this solar generation and storage project is commendable on many levels," said St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Timothy Sylvester Harris. "This project is an example of the bold thinking and actions being undertaken by our electric utility to ensure a reliable power supply and a cleaner, more sustainable environment for our citizens and tourists."
"The cost of this project to St. Kitts and Nevis citizens is zero," said Bryan Urban, Executive Vice President and Head of Leclanché Stationary Business Unit. "It is being fully paid-for over 20 years through the savings created by the switch to clean and reliable solar energy."
Ground-breaking for the solar and energy storage project is scheduled for mid-October 2019 with an anticipated completion date of September 2020.
Date: Aug 7, 2019