You can save money and the environment when you add solar power to your home or business.
New technology, lower-priced solar panels and a new feed-in tariff programme from the Caribbean Utilities Company (CUC) now makes solar power systems affordable for most Cayman Islands home and business owners.
In 2011, CUC introduced a CORE programme which allows consumers to install solar panels on commercial or residential buildings, and sell the power back to CUC.
There are certain guidelines and restrictions in place, but for projects that qualify, there is an excellent opportunity to generate income from solar power through a 20-year contract with CUC.
Some financial institutions have expressed interest in allowing their customers to finance the purchase of a residential solar system, since CUC is offering the 20- year contract to buy the power produced by qualified customers.
In addition to the CUC contract and a good price for a solar system, proper installation of solar panels, solar pool pumps and solar hot water heaters is critical to generating optimum solar income. Solar panels require optimum positioning to capture the sun’s rays, and also to remain securely in place during windy conditions.
Precision Industries Ltd., one of the best-established roofing companies in Grand Cayman with a proven track record for secure rooftop installations, has created a new solar division called Precision Solar to offer a full range of solar power services.
Dale Nickason is the solar specialist on the team. Originally from Canada, Mr. Nickason has completed a number of successful feed-in-tariff solar projects there. “Cayman Islands is the perfect place for solar power,” he says.
“The sunny weather, ease of accessing products and a highly-skilled workforce – especially the team at Precision Industries – provides the perfect formula for the work we do here.”
Mr. Nickason says Precision Industries is already receiving a lot of interest in solar power in Grand Cayman, but acknowledges there are a couple of myths that need to be dispelled.
“The biggest source of confusion is the initial cost of the system, and the payback period,” he says.
“A few years ago, solar panels were still quite expensive, but prices have since dropped considerably. We can provide an analysis to show customers the payback period they should expect.”
So how does it work? For the feed-in-tariff programmes, photovoltaic panels can be mounted on suitable poles or sloping or flat surfaces on commercial and residential properties. Power is generated by the panels, and transmitted to the power grid in Grand Cayman. CUC purchases this power and pays the producer. The static solar systems have no moving parts so they are easy to maintain and monitor.
Precision Solar also offers solar thermal power. The power generated from these systems can heat water for swimming pools, laundry, spas and bathing. It is estimated that hot water typically accounts for 25 per cent of a monthly residential utility bill. In some Caribbean countries, households with solar hot water tanks on the rooftops dominate the landscape.
Precision Solar hopes to see the same in Cayman Islands.
Solar swimming pool pumps also represent great savings.
“We estimate that by installing a solar pool pump, the system will pay for itself in two to three years,” says Mr. Nickason.
Beyond the economics of solar power, there is the obvious benefit of being environmentally responsible. Installing solar power means you can reduce your carbon footprint. Rarely a day now goes by when more disturbing statistics about the impact of fossil fuel usage are not being communicated by the media. Adopting the use of solar power offers the opportunity to generate additional income and also reduce your carbon footprint at the same time.
Precision Solar offers a free, no-obligation evaluation for your residential or commercial property.