Energy projects across the Caribbean are taking shape with a keen focus on incorporating more renewables into the electricity network, a critical need for the gas-starved region but one that faces persistent challenges from hurricanes.
Adam Carter, managing director at CIBC First Caribbean, said every island in the Caribbean suffers from the high cost of fuel imports, with the exception of gas-rich Trinidad.
“Solar has hit grid parity,” he said, a key threshold for investors and consumers alike as solar-generated electricity is no longer more expensive than fuel-generated power.
Jamaica, for instance, welcomed activation of the 51MW Paradise Park PV solar project in October.
Paradise Park was built by Paris-based renewables firm Neoen, with financial backing from London-based Rekamniar Frontier Ventures and Hamburg's MPC Capital.
Investors are increasingly attracted to renewables projects in the region, with one critical factor being ambitious green goals set by Caribbean governments.
Jamaica, which is currently finalising an Integrated Resource Plan, has set a goal of generating 50 percent of its electricity from renewables by 2030. Barbados is eyeing 100 percent of electricity from renewables by the same year.
A major hindrance to any project in the Caribbean, though, is the threat of hurricanes. Hurricane Dorian that wiped out two Bahamian islands in late August, posed the risk of complete destruction of major solar farms. But, a secondary risk was the lack of suitable insurance.