Central American Retail Chain Invests in Distributed Renewable Energy

Central America’s commercial and industrial sector gets a US$4 million boost in its renewable energy development.
Published: Tue 17 Mar 2015

A leading retail chain in Central America has chosen renewable energy solutions firm UGE and Panama-based energy company OTEPI Renewables, to design and supply solar energy systems at its facilities.

Last year, UGE and OTEPI Renewables entered into a strategic partnership to serve Panama and the greater Central American region by meeting the critical energy needs of the commercial and industrial sector.

Retail chain turns to renewables for power reliability

Spanning a variety of sites that include retail showrooms, warehouses, distribution sites and offices, the solar energy systems are set to significantly reduce energy costs and operating expenses for retail chain.

"Our client is making a savvy decision by investing in solar energy, to reduce uncertainty surrounding future electricity rates, and drastically lower operating expenses attributable to electricity consumption," said Joshua Rogol, Director of Business Development at UGE. "Our distributed renewable energy systems are very competitive with utility electricity costs in this region. We suspect that our growing presence in the Central American market couldn't be better timed. As electricity rates rise, finding a source of reliable, affordable energy has become a top priority for commercial businesses operating in the Latin American region."

The contract, at an estimated value of US$4 million, will be carried out over the next 12 to 15 months. The final contract amount and installed capacity will be confirmed once site-by-site engineering is completed.

Together, the rooftop solar systems are expected to produce at least 5,600MWh of energy annually. The grid-tied solar PV systems include UGE Seamless Grid inverters and rooftop solar racking.

While this project is grid-tied without any batteries now, Rogol told Engerati that the client has expressed interest in future energy storage expansion so the system is designed to enable the integration of batteries any time in the future which would enable the company to go off-grid.

Affordable energy-A commercial priority

With the increase in electricity rates, finding a source of affordable energy has become a top priority for commercial businesses operating in the Latin American region.

According to a report by GTM Research, the Latin American region installed 625MW of solar photovoltaics in 2014, a 370% increase in annual growth over 2013, and it’s expected to more than triple again in 2015 with 2.1GW of additional PV.

Like in most countries around the world, business sectors are taking energy matters into their own hands as power supplies become increasingly unreliable and costly. We wrote recently about how retailers are beginning to see the potential to save millions by installing their own power generation, as well as introducing new energy management systems [Engerati-Retail Takes Control of its Energy Consumption.]