North American Development Bank to pilot solar project at Chihuahua Hospital, US

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At this year’s Solar Power International in Dallas, the North American Development Bank (NADB) and the Border Environment Cooperation Commission (BECC) signed a letter of agreement with the State of Chihuahua to support the implementation of a pilot solar energy project at a new children’s hospital in Chihuahua. The US$900,000 project consists of installing a 250 kW solar plant to supply electricity to the hospital.

Funding comes in the form of NADB providing a US$300,000 grant for design, development, training, oversight and planning and implementation services to be completed by SunEdison Spain Construction, S.L.U. BECC will support the project through a US$50,000 grant to complement part of the funds needed for the development.

This month alone, SunEdison has received around US$550 million for projects in Thailand and for utility and rooftop PV systems in North America. At the beginning of October it was announced that investment company KGAL will be buying 33MW of solar PV systems from SunEdison, located in Italy and Spain for an undisclosed sum.

The State of Chihuahua also secured a commitment from Suntech Power Holdings Company, Ltd, to donate solar panels for the project, as well as a commitment from Schneider Electric to provide inverters.

Suntech has recently become embroiled in a conflict with The Coalition for American Solar Manufacturing surrounding allegations by the latter that China's manufacturing practices are having a negative impact on solar jobs and manufacturing opportunities in the US.

Schneider Electric, this summer, announced a US$50 million energy savings performance contract for the US Coast Guard (USCG) development in Puerto Rico. This includes solar PV rooftop installations.

The agreement was signed by Javier Garfio Pacheco, Secretary of Communications and Public Works for the State of Chihuahua, NADB deputy managing director Alex Hinojosa and BECC Deputy General Manager José Mario Sánchez.

“We are grateful to NADB, BECC and the companies involved for supporting Chihuahua in its efforts to provide solar energy to the children’s hospital, which will see savings of about 20% in electricity costs,” stated Pacheco. “This solar energy project is the first to be implemented in Chihuahua and we hope that it will serve as a guide for more projects of this type in Chihuahua.”

The solar facility will also benefit the Universidad Tecnológica de Chihuahua who will operate it through its renewable energy certification program whilst at the same time use it to undertake research studies to provide much-needed information on the state’s solar resources.

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