The cost of fossil fuels that we use to power our homes will only continue to rise as supplies dwindle worldwide. Electricity is already costly in the Cayman Islands, and as small Caribbean countries don’t have the bargaining power of larger countries, they will be hit the hardest as oil reserves have become far more limited. Cayman’s goal of obtaining 25% of its power from renewable resources by 2025 has raised discussion for alternative ways of preserving our resources.
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300ft wind turbines have been considered, yet face problems with height restrictions of 250ft anywhere within a 10 mile radius of the airport. There are also concerns that their height would interfere with Cayman’s Doppler radar station.
Other renewable energy sources proposed include the world’s first ocean thermal energy conversion plant. Concerns surrounding this were that it was not yet commercially proven, and therefore risky, and also that it would not be financially feasible. Solar power currently remains a trusted, viable option for renewable energy in the Cayman Islands.
Powering Your Home with Solar Power
The Cayman Islands has almost 365 days of sunshine, like most Islands in the Caribbean. Harvesting energy from the sun should be "the" solution for home and business owners who want to reduce the money they spend monthly on utilities, and significant improvements are being made in the solar energy industry every year.
Significant improvements are being made in the solar energy industry every year and Cayman is the perfect location to harness the power of the sun. Solar energy can be harvested in two ways: solar photovoltaic (PV), which converts sunlight into electricity and solar thermal, which heats water. The initial costs of purchasing these systems are significant and currently the Government does not offer subsidies as an incentive. But an encouraging point to note however, is that renewable energy equipment such as solar panels are in fact duty-free for residential homeowners.
Solar Power Storage
Although Cayman enjoys over 300 days of sunshine, you will need to consider an alternative source of power should there be no sun. One such option is the Tesla Powerwall battery. These rechargeable lithium-ion batteries are wall mounted and can be stored either outside your home or inside your garage. Tesla Powerwall batteries can help provide financial savings by charging and storing energy. They also assure power in the event of a power outage, instead of having to use a generator.
Home Energy Storage Systems
Another option for creating sustainable energy is the use of home energy storage systems. They allow you to power your home off the grid and are small enough to fit inside a room closet!
Home energy storage systems use intelligent technology to power your home if you need to be off the grid. They can be particularly useful during hurricane season and the odd power outage.
Intelligent technology can be used to power your home if you need to be off the grid. These compact systems can be easily adaptable to your individual needs. The following company can help:
Creating solar farms and possibly wind farms in the Cayman Islands would lessen our dependency on fossil fuels and decrease the $153 million we spend on importing diesel fuel each year. CUC’s Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), which was approved in early 2019, outlines the transition from diesel energy to more renewable sources by 2045. It is predicted that, in the next 20 years, 70% of Cayman’s energy will all come from renewable resources. However, with only around 5% of CUC’s energy currently coming from renewable sources, to reach the 25% mark by 2025 they need to get building and fast. Swapping to renewable energy may be difficult if programme capacities are full, as well as the Bodden Town 5 MW solar farm hitting its 17 MW threshold for renewable energy allocation.
The Jasmine palliative and hospice care facility were donated a 10 KW solar system in 2020. The electricity generated from these panels are given to CUC’s distribution, allowing for a more sustainable way of using renewable energy. Jasmine now saves approximately CI$450 per month on utilities. There is now no more space on the CORE grid to obtain new renewable energy sources. Ofreg, the utilities regulators, say that spaces for new energy sources will not be possible until CUC implement a larger battery system that can hold 20 megawatts of electricity.
GreenTech Solar have teamed up with CUC, so that if you invest in their renewable energy, your CORE contract will last 25 years, as will the solar panel products. If you choose to install a SunPower product system with CUC’s new battery system, you will even have electricity when the main grid is down. According to GreenTech, if you install a SunPower 10 KW system with a CORE CUC contract, you will save 800 barrels of oil being produced in 25 years, and reduce your carbon footprint by almost 15 tons per year, or 375 in 25 years.
Solar Grid-Tie Systems
CUC has an initiative called the Consumer Owned Renewable Energy (CORE) Programme and will purchase alternative energy from approved independent sources. However, CUC has no plans for the CORE programme to be offered to new customers. New customers will be directed to the Distributed Energy Resource (DER) programme, so if you would like to have solar panels or other renewable energy sources generating electricity for your home or business, CUC will buy that power from you at an unsubsidised rate. For more information, visit their website.
The solar panel installers in Cayman design and install each system to perfectly suit your home, budget, and electricity needs.