Congratulations are in order for the team at The Ministry of Communications, Works Labour & Energy (MCWLE) for the award of a contract for the first phase of its first solar project which is a 250 kilowatt (KW) Solar PV installation to the value of EC$1.89 million dollars.
The company being awarded the contract is ‘Salt Energy’ out of Florida, USA.
The Ministry identified under its Energy Policy in 2016, the 1 Mega Watt solar photovoltaic (PV) and battery storage project and received funding approval for the first phase.
According to Ministry officials, "this was in itself a milestone, given the economic environment of having available very limited funding for capital projects. The Ministry along with the Montserrat Utilities Limited supported by the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), GIZ and the CARICOM Energy Unit, has worked together to advance this project."
This project involves the design and installation of a 250KW solar power system and has an overall budget of EC$3,000,000 under EDF10 programme with the following components of:
• Client Engineer Consulting
• Solar Engineering Purchasing & Construction Contractor
• Electric Vehicle & Charging Station
• Institutional Support & Project Management activities
The ministry is pleased that to date, the Design Consultancy by the client engineer and Institutional Support elements are complete and the Ministry has been ready for the implementation of the main component of this project, which is the installation of the solar energy system under the solar engineering procurement and construction contractor.
The Ministry stated that this project faced its share of delays due to tender bids being received which were significantly outside the scope of the project budget. As a result, some re-scoping had to be undertaken and the re-tendering process repeated twice. The Ministry has stated that this process has ensured that value for money will be realized on the investment in this project, and at the same time maintaining the stated capacity of the system at 250 KW.
This project is a turnkey design, engineering, procurement and construction product which includes the installation of PV modules, provision of wiring and electrical components through to a PV inverter, interconnections with existing electrical panels, provision of material and spare parts and the training of locals in the operation and maintenance of the system.
The completion of this project is pivotal, as it will contribute 11% of Montserrat's daily Electricity Peak Demand, but more importantly, it will open up access to further funding for the second phase of the project, the 750KW Solar PV and Battery Storage project under the EDF11 Programme with an expected multi-million dollar injection.
All of this will begin to fulfil the ministry’s goal of switching energy generation from fossil fuels to renewable energy, improve Montserrat’s energy efficiency and attain a more reliable energy supply.
It is estimated that this phase of the Solar PV project would be completed by the end of the first quarter of 2019.