Dispelling the Myths About Solar Power

The programme allows consumers to install solar panels on commercial or residential buildings, and sell the power back to CUC.

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 CORE feed-in-tariff program from the Caribbean Utilities Company (CUC) now makes solar power systems affordable for most Cayman Islands home and business owners.

In 2011, the CUC introduced a CORE programme. The programme 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 the CUC is offering the 20- year contract to buy the power produced by qualified customers. One hundred percent financing is available.

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, Nickason has completed a number of successful Feed in Tariff solar projects there.

“Cayman Islands is the perfect place for solar power,” says Nickason.

“The sunny weather, ease of accessing product and highly skilled workforce–especially the team at Precision Industries–provides the perfect formula for the work we do here.”

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. 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.”

Nickason reports that a typical system has an approximate pay back period of six years. “Clearly, this will vary by project, but a six year ROI is now a reasonable expectation for most projects.”

When it comes to commercial rooftops, Nickason suggests that an income as much as $80,000 per year could be generated, and he reminds commercial property owners that this income stream is guaranteed by a 20 year contract from C.U.C. The solar panels come with a 25 year manufacturer’s warranty.

C.U.C. has authorized capacity for a limited number of commercial rooftop solar installations. Once the capacity is allocated, the opportunity is gone.

In addition to participating in the CORE program, some commercial business owners such as hotel operators may want to consider introducing solar swimming pool pumps at their properties. 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 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 is 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.


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