In May 2014 the Barbados Light and Power Company (BL&P) invited proposals for an 8MW (AC) solar farm in St. Lucy. Approximately 40 companies bid on the project, mostly international ones and a few local companies. The original notice is posted below followed by a photo from an August 2014 site visit.
In August 2015, BL&P signed a contract with Grupotec to construct the 10MW (DC), 8MW (AC) solar farm as part of BL&P’s renewable energy strategy for Barbados. Grupotec is a Spain based international EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) services provider which has over 300MW worth of solar PV project experience across various countries in Europe and in the US.
The project will be constructed on 40 acres of land in Trents, St. Lucy for a total investment of over Bds$40 million. System pricing for this utility scale solar project works out to just over US$2.00/W, one of the lowest costs in the Caribbean according to GTM Research.
80 jobs are expected to be created during construction, slated to commence in January 2016, which will see approximately 40,000 solar panels installed. Once built, the St. Lucy Energy Gateway will be the largest solar photovoltaic plant in Barbados. Solar PV on the island will then graduate from smaller scale distributed solar to larger utility scale solar. Progress on this project was made possible following the favourable results of the Intermittent Renewable Energy Penetration Study requested by BL&P and conducted by GE Consulting.
With the enactment of the Electric Light and Power Act, which allows other entities besides BL&P to supply electricity, expect this 10MW solar farm to be the first of many utility scale solar developments in Barbados. The 10MW of capacity represented by BL&P’s project is accounted for within their own generating capacity. It does not count towards the 20MW of RER capacity or the 20MW of ELPA capacity.
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