December 5, 2020

Solar company sets up in Grand Cayman

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Toronto-based solar-generating company Solamon Energy has announced appointment of George Town resident Steve Kuiack as vice president, overseeing construction of a two megawatt production facility in the Cayman Islands.

However, attempts to contact Solamon, Mr Kuiack, CEO Graeme Boyce or President Jay Yeo proved fruitless, yielding only a series of disconnected or consistently unanswered telephones, and no listings for the company anywhere in the Toronto area.

A 14 December press release said Mr Kuiack would “review and explore existing opportunities to design Apollo Acre systems locally, whether ground mount, mobile, remote, rooftop or parking-lot installations.

“Further, he will explore partnerships to ensure on-going operations, maintenance, and security,” the statement said.

Solamon’s website describes projects in Jamaica and elsewhere in the region, using its trademark “Apollo Acre” array, a series of panels and dishes that “scale easily from small to large, ranging from small community projects of 250 kWh to large utility-grade arrays generating in upwards of 2 MW.”

The photovoltaic generators, it says, “provides limitless power at a low fixed cost to operate. Engineers have designed each system with few moving parts and contains only corrosion-resistant components to reduce maintenance and extend the life-cycle the Apollo Acre PV solar solution.”

Dave Phipps, head of local solar provider Electra-Tech, said, however, he was unaware of Solamon Energy or its Cayman Islands plans.

While any scheme for commercial power generation is legally obllged to employ the transmission and distribution network operated by the Caribbean Utilities Company (CUC), a CUC spokeswoman said yesterday that she was unaware of Solamon Energy or its plans.

Nonetheless, the 14 December document suggested Solamon had had extensive local discussions: “The people we have spoken to who live in the Caymans are very receptive to solar power,” Mr Boyce said in yesterday’s release, “and we are extremely confident Steve will prioritise the market and ensure appropriate partnerships and resources are available for each anticipated project.”

A Canadian citizen, Mr Kuiack, “now re-located in Georgetown”, according to the release, would report to Mr Yeo “and is set to focus on delivering solar array projects in the 2MW range.

“We understand this will involve engaging government and business leaders in a healthy discussion about helping them transition the Caymans away from its oil dependency to an independent economy fueled by renewable resources,” Mr Yeo said. “This is why Steve is a perfect fit and, given our success together, we’ll continue to build a sustainable-energy model for communities in the future.”

The Apollo Acre system, the release says, is “a turnkey process from beginning to end including site inspections, project design and development, as well as addressing requisite environmental and local permitting, third-party engineering, procurement and construction, as well as system testing and eventual commissioning, security and maintenance.”

Typically, the system is “a ground-mounted solar array of integrated photovoltaic cells over five-acre packages of land”. Solamon also “designs and installs custom solutions with local partners to provide roof-mounted and parking lot systems that could be easily augmented by micro wind-turbine technology and other innovative features.”

The integrated Apollo arrays are “connected by cable to varied transmission equipment, including converters, inverters and batteries. Additionally,” the release says, “it is expected the company’s business activities will spin-off many jobs locally, given engineering requirements, construction, unit commissioning and subsequent maintenance.”

The Solamon release, however, did not describe land-acquisition or construction plans, cost or financial projections, local partnerships or start-finish dates.

“The company is excited not only to deliver turnkey power plants using renewable solar energy as a resource to Caribbean and Central American countries,” the release said, “but to also develop mutually beneficial and therefore long-term relationships.”

Quoting Mr Yeo, the document held out a promise of employment and associated economic benefits: “It’s no secret our executives are certainly looking for local partners to manage each new Apollo Acre array locally,” he said.

“However, our partners must also be willing to establish and operate a suitable post-implementation training program, especially in collaboration with government agencies who’ve offered to provide standards and certification criteria,” Mr Yeo said.

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