FortisTCI is set to start construction on the first of two solar plus battery microgrids following a groundbreaking ceremony at its property in Kew, North Caicos, on Friday, July 14, 2023.
During the ceremony, remarks were delivered by President and Chief Executive Officer at FortisTCI, Ruth Forbes, Chief Executive Officer at Compass Solar, Justin Cunningham, International Marketing and Sales Director at Hitachi Energy, Gianni Moreno, District Commissioner for North Caicos, Jas Walkin, and District Commissioner for Middle Caicos Osbourne Delancy. TCI Government Permanent Secretary of Public Safety and Utilities, Bridgette Newman, FortisTCI Executives, project team members, special invitees, and residents were also in attendance to support the momentous occasion.
The electricity network on North Caicos and Middle Caicos are interconnected, and the 1.2 MW system will produce 30% of the twin islands' electricity from solar energy once commissioned next year. The project will reduce the amount of fuel needed to generate electricity, thereby lowering carbon emissions and the cost of energy production over time in these islands. We continue to advocate for supportive and modernized regulations to help advance the energy transition.
Canadian Solar, one of the world's largest solar photovoltaic product providers, will deliver the solar panel modules. Caribbean-based renewable energy firm, Compass Solar, will lead the installation of the solar panels. Hitachi Energy, a global technology company, will provide the battery energy storage system to support the integration of this latest stream of renewable energy into the grid. The multimillion-dollar project will also create value across various local sectors.
The battery system will store solar energy for release when needed for up to a maximum of four hours and allow the twin island's electricity system to disconnect and operate independently from the grid, if necessary. This supports the system's response and recovery in a mass power outage. Both islands receive electricity via an undersea cable from Providenciales, and a battery energy storage system will help to reduce grid disruptions and strengthen redundancy. The twin islands microgrid is the company’s largest green energy investment to date.
Commenting on the groundbreaking ceremony, FortisTCI President and CEO, Ruth Forbes, stated: “We are celebrating a milestone, which is marked by an $8 million investment for North and Middle Caicos. It is another important step to realizing our vision of transforming energy in the Turks and Caicos Islands, which we are guided by every day. We are committed to investing in more renewable energy because we believe in a sustainable energy future for residents of the twin islands and the entire Turks and Caicos Islands. We are building a new energy system that will integrate solar with the current energy source. With this new system, the twin islands will be 30% powered by solar energy, and this is an accomplishment that we are very excited to execute. While integrating solar to the grid, we will continue to maintain our existing grid, deliver reliable electricity services, and do so with excellence.”
Chief Executive Officer at Compass Solar, Justin Cunningham, stated: "We’re excited to participate in the construction and commissioning of this very challenging project with a unique location. We will maintain our commitment to delivering a high-quality installation, and most importantly, providing new opportunities for North and Middle Caicos residents to be a part of this project, to learn and gain new knowledge.”
International Marketing and Sales Director at Hitachi Energy, Gianni Moreno, stated: “This project will combine solar PV technology with thermal generation assets, which will be connected to the grid, and also optimized by a battery energy storage and microgrid technology. What does that mean to the consumer? The grid will not only be greener, but more efficient and more reliable. This is really what energy for good is all about.”