Solar charging station unveiled

The first solar panel charging station for electric vehicles was unveiled at Governors Square on Thursday, June 23. This is the first such charging station, not only in the Cayman Islands, but in the Caribbean.  

The prototype charging station is a collaborative effort between various local businesses all keen to see the Cayman Islands move towards using clean, renewable energy in the near future.  

A Chevrolet Volt, a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle – the first such vehicle to be brought to the Caribbean – was stationed in one of the parking spaces at Governors Square and plugged into a mock charger, alongside an artist rendering of what the final charging station will look like.  

“Today we have reached an agreement that Governors Square will be the first location in the Caribbean to have a solar powered charging station,” said John Felder, president of Cayman Automotive. 

Special wind-resistant solar panels have been selected and will be installed above the parking space, forming a canopy. The charging station will also be connected to the CUC grid so that when not charging electric vehicles it can feed generated power back into the grid. During hours of insufficient sunlight, the charging station will be able to draw power from the grid, if needed.  

The level 2 charger will be able to completely charge an electric vehicle in four to six hours. This is significantly faster than the level 1 domestic chargers which require between 10 and 12 hours to fully charge an electric car.  

Electric vehicle owners will be able to visit shops, businesses, restaurants or go to work while their vehicles are being charged, thereby providing a boost for local business.  

Fourteen charging stations are planned across Grand Cayman and will be located close to retail and business outlets. Charging stations will be located at: Cayman Motor Museum, Fosters (West Bay, the Strand, Airport and Savannah), Andy’s Car Rental (Seven Mile Beach and Airport), Governors Square, Camana Bay, Hurley’s, the Reef Resort and Kaibo. “All these people have raised their hands and said ‘Yes, we want these charging stations’,” said Mr. Felder. Some of these locations will use the level three charger which will reduce charge time to 20 to 30 minutes. 

Electric vehicle owners will be able to visit shops, businesses, restaurants or even go to work while their vehicles are being charged, at the same time that it provides a boost for local businesses.  

There will be no charge for using the solar powered charging stations.  

Mr. Felder has been working for the past six years to make electric vehicles a reality in the Cayman Islands and earlier this year sold the first Chevy Volt to CUC. Although current legislation does not permit 100 percent electric vehicles to be licenced and driven on Cayman’s roads, Mr. Felder said new legislation has been written. “We are in the final steps now,” he said at a recent news conference. The Chevy Volt can be driven now as it is classed as a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle.  

Later this year, Mr. Felder plans to bring in two new models of fully electric vehicle: the Tazzari Zero and the Wheego, both of which have maximum speeds of 85 mph and a range of 100 miles. These cars, he says, will be available at around half the cost of the Chevrolet Volt.  

Cayman Automotive has been developing plans in collaboration with experts from Corporate Electric, LAS Development and the US-based Eaton corporation to ensure the underlying infrastructure is in place so that as soon as legislation is passed, charging stations can be installed and customers will be able to use their electric vehicles, safe in the knowledge that they will not run out of power. 

Local Story
The Chevrolet Volt is plugged into the level 2 charger at Governors Square. – Photo: Natasha Were


  1. Cayman will never go green.

    yes the car is electric but it is still burning fossil fuels to generate that electricity and in the end diesel cost more that gas so you will probably spend more.

    The governement in Cayman has the NEP – National Energy Program, a board of about 15 people thats sole mission is to make sure that Cayman never goes green.. Why? well look at the revenue they make taxing the diesel they sell to CUC.

    A great example is Jim Knapp. He builds 100% green house with hydrogen cell batteries etc., a sign of the future of using the sun to pay his utilities… well not in Cayman. CUC and the government want nothing to do with it, and have wrapped the guy (and others) in so much red tape.

    On an island that could easily sustain a wind farm or solar farm, cutting utilities cost immensely. Cayman gets 345 days of sun a year.

    There are cities that have turned from debt to profit from using solar power.. why can’t Cayman?

    Caymanian’s can invest into an entity that builds, controls, develops and runs a rival company to CUC. The shareholders can control their own destiny in stead of an outside company profiting.

    In 2007 Cayman ranked 18th in the world in KWhour usage.

    There is absolutely no way in a true democracy that government can have this much control.

    Vote green!!

  2. crisscross, you obviously know very little of the Chevy Volt. It can be driven for up to a YEAR without burning a single drop of gasoline. Gasoline is only used in an emergency if the battery state of charge reaches deletion before it can be charged froma acharging station (solar power if possible)AS lon as you recharge the Volt every 40-50 miles it wont use ANY gasoline. It is an electric vehicle with a built-in generator for range extension.

    Say a hurricane hits and the electric/charging infrastructure fails. With the Chevy Volt you will still be able to drive (electrically) using the gasoline driven generator indefinately until such time as charging stations can be re-established. At this time PURE electric-vehciles come with far too many compromises. What Mr. Fleding is doing is amazing IMO.

  3. its a step in the right direction,i think home based charging ports would be ideal for a somewhat centralised population theres noth chance of one being caught short becaue of Grand Caymans size,electric cars are ideal for island communities, such as Grand Cayman and her sister islands William Morey Cobh Ireland


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