By Devonne Cornelius
St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN) — An official groundbreaking ceremony was held today on Thursday, December 10, 2020, at the Basseterre Valley National Park for the commencement of the Basseterre Valley Solar and Storage Project.
This solar generation and storage project will provide about 30 to 35 percent of St. Kitts baseload energy needs for the next 20-25 years while reducing carbon dioxide emissions by more than 740,000 metric tons. The $70 million microgrid project is being built by Leclanche, one of the world’s leading energy storage companies, which will serve as the prime engineering, procurement, and construction contractor.
Chief Executive Officer of Leclanche, Anil Srivastava, in a live video feed from Switzerland gave the commitment of his company to complete construction of the project in about 12 to 18 months with the assistance of Solrid Limited and the St. Kitts Electricity Company Limited (SKELEC).
“The project essentially is about harnessing the energy from the sun through the solar panels which will be installed [at the facility]. … To the people of St. Kitts and Nevis, what does it really mean? It means that we will power your homes in the night with solar energy, your air conditioners, your tourist resorts, your hotels, your businesses. We will do so in a way that Leclanche and its investment partners will fund the complete project.” he said.
The Chief Executive Officer said the project consists of a fully integrated 35.7 megawatts solar photovoltaic system and a 14.8 megawatts/ megawatt-hour lithium-ion battery energy storage system utilizing Leclanche’s proprietary energy management system.
Hon. Shawn Richards, the Deputy Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis and Minister of Public Infrastructure, Post and Urban Development at the ceremony said “SKELEC has been working closely with Leclanche for nearly two years now developing a state-of-the-art and highly sustainable energy production and storage system to service our citizens.”.
The land, which was once used for sugar cane production but has been idle for years, was leased to Leclanche by the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis under a 20-year agreement with an automatic five-year renewal. Environmental Impact Assessment and geotechnical analysis were successfully completed in 2019, demonstrating the renewable energy project will bring a positive impact to the Basseterre Valley.
Remarks were also delivered by the Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, the Hon. Dr. Timothy Harris and Rajnesh Walia, Director of Solrid Limited.
Also present at the groundbreaking ceremony were cabinet members of the federal government, permanent secretaries, and department heads.