The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the U.S. Government’s Development Finance Institution, signed a financing agreement with Content Solar Ltd., solidifying a $47 million OPIC loan to support a 20 MW grid-connected solar PV facility in Clarendon, Jamaica. The project is being developed by Tampa, Fla.-based WRB Enterprises (WRB).
WRB will be the first investor to develop a utility-scale solar energy generation facility in Jamaica. The project is also the second to be financed by OPIC in support of the Caribbean Energy Security Initiative, a U.S. government effort announced by Vice President Biden in June 2014.
Reliable, sustainable energy will provide Jamaica’s economy important stability and help the country make important progress toward energy security. Especially for island nations, power generation from traditional thermal sources can be expensive and volatile due to the cost of imported fuels.
Jamaica currently generates over 90% of its electricity from imported oil, and in addition to fulfilling the U.S. initiative, OPIC’s financing to Content Solar for this new solar facility also supports the Jamaican Government’s own goals to increase generation of secure, renewable energy.
“The largest in the Caribbean, WRB’s Content Solar project will deliver clean, reliable, renewable energy at a stable price to Jamaica for decades to come. It will power more than 20,000 Jamaican homes, while displacing more than 3 million gallons of fuel each year. It is an important milestone not only for Jamaica, but the entire Caribbean,” said WRB’s Chairman, Robert Blanchard.
WRB Chairman and CEO G. Robert Blanchard signed the agreement alongside OPIC Chief of Staff John Morton. Jamaican Minister of Energy Phillip Paulwell and U.S. Ambassador to Jamaica Luis G. Moreno officiated the ceremony.
“OPIC’s financing to WRB for Content Solar will both help the Jamaican people take an important step toward energy security and also show that Jamaica is a market where private investors can find opportunity for growth. I’m eager to build on our long, productive relationship with WRB to help show that renewable power is more than a positive environmental step, it makes sound business sense,” said John Morton, OPIC’s Chief of Staff.
— Solar Builder magazine