The Compass asked utilities regulator OfReg for a detailed response to some of the concerns raised by the Cayman Renewable Energy Association about its decisions.

Here is their point-by-point response:

On why it took 13 months to decide on a new allocation of CORE:

OfReg has a statutory duty to consult and began this process in April 2020 shortly after the COVID-19 outbreak.

Obviously, the comprehensive consultation process that included an initial consultation round, cross submissions by stakeholders, draft determination, a second round of consultation and final determination, like many other projects, was impacted by the pandemic and incurred delays.

The consultation was conducted to obtain the views of all stakeholders that would be affected by OfReg’s final determination and not just one party; the final determination was made in February 2021 and published in March 2021.

Many extraneous factors, including the COVID-19 pandemic, impacted the economy locally and globally.

On why the new solar rate is lower than the rate voted for by an independent panel:

A Special Purpose Ad Hoc committee (including one representative from the Ministry of Commerce, Planning and Infrastructure) was formed to provide advice to the board.

The committee’s recommendation of a higher rate was considered by the board but was not accepted.

The CORE programme, while well intended to promote solar PV uptake and deployment, is a subsidised programme.

The approved rate continues to provide subsidies to owners of CORE systems. Accordingly, the decision process was conducted with honesty, integrity, and was in the best interest of consumers and the people of these islands, whom we have an overriding duty to protect.

On the absence of clear alternatives to CORE for homeowners to install solar:

OfReg have made several public statements on this subject of renewable energy initiatives that it is pursuing and/or has authorized. For example, the 20 MW Battery Energy Storage System project which will make available an additional 12 MW of capacity for the Distributed Energy Resources programme.

On claims its decisions go against the ambitions of the National Energy Policy:

OfReg is tasked with executing several of the National Energy Policy’s goals and will continue to do so in a fair and balanced manner. In a recent presentation to the Energy Policy Council, OfReg indicated it will be working on new programmes and rates for the additional 12 MW of DER capacity.

Critical to the rates and tariff making process, OfReg has commenced the process to undertake a value of solar assessment to inform rates going forward.

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  1. CUC wants to be the only source of power and has certain decision makers in its pocket. A solution is to buy/sell electricity between CUC and the solar electricity producer at a spread – not a guaranteed price. Perhaps a could of cents per kw. Then CUC receives compensation for using the grid, CUC takes no risk in the purchasing price of power, and the solar producer (resident) basically hedges the cost of power for his/her home.

    • There ARE real problems in parts of USA, several power companies REFUSE TO BUY BACK ANY ELECCTRICY PRODUCED, as a result SOLAR COMPANIES LEFT THOSE STATES, ;ie THE SOUTHERN CO/DUKE POWER, whom says :WE SELL POWER, NOT PAY FOR IT so they say $0.
      Florida, gets lots of sun but the rates are so farLESS. than NORTH EAST I pay US$ 0.23/kw
      NSW AU, Had the STATE supply everybody with solar power from a Hugh solar system , were promised $0.07/ kw , however they pay the SAME as I pay $0.23/. but their wind power hasNOT worked, & batteries are COSTLY, so everybody has either a petrol, or diesel generator for NIGHTTIME ! Some system eh ?, A woman in MIAMI/DADE FL some years ago costing her $68,000, It took her 2/12 years to get a rebate from FPL. She used to pay $ 100/month, after she pays $9./mo now But she will have to replace solar cells BEFORE she ever breaks even !, so with all the sun in FLA there IS ZERO INCENTIVE TO DO SO as power is so much less than in the NORTH!