PV project developer Sonnedix and Yarotek have broken ground on their 12MW Salinas Solar Park, the first of three proposed solar power projects by the two companies. Joined by government representatives, the companies celebrated at a groundbreaking ceremony in Salinas, Puerto Rico.
The US$36 million project is located on 140 acres of land in the Aguirre district in Salinas and will consist of two phases. The first phase of the project will involve the installation of 10MW. General Energy Services has been appointed as the general contractor for the solar park. During the construction phase, the project is expected to create around 120 jobs.
The first phase will entail the installation of 16 Conext XC 630 inverters provided by Schneider Electric as well as a substation and transmission line that will connect the Salinas Solar Park with the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) network. The transmission line is expected to go live beginning April 2013. It is estimated that output generated from the first 10MW will be enough to power 2,500 homes.
At the groundbreaking ceremony, the CEO of Sonnedix Andreas Mustad said: “For Sonnedix, Puerto Rico has become our gateway to the Americas. The island has begun to take important steps to reduce its dependency on oil through the use of renewable energy, creating a clear and effective regulatory framework that promotes investment and jobs. Our company has committed to invest more than $200 million in Puerto Rico.”
Also present at the ceremony, the Secretary of State Kenneth McClintock, stated: ” Four years ago, Puerto Rico did not have a single solar panel or wind turbine generating electricity on a commercial scale. Thanks to the efforts of Governor Fortuno, who has promoted and encouraged renewable energy projects like the Salinas Solar Park, for which construction began today, Puerto Rico, within five months, will have more than a quarter million photovoltaic panels and 60 wind turbines generating hundreds of megawatts of renewable energy, displacing the expensive, dirty and unstable oil that has enslaved Puerto Rico for close to a century.”
Mayor of Salinas Carlos Rodriguez-Mateo added: “Now more than ever, Puerto Rico must accelerate its search for alternatives in order to reduce our dependency on oil and achieve the reduction in energy costs we all yearn for. Today, Salinas has taken a giant step in promoting sustainable energy development that will place Puerto Rico among the most advanced regions in the 21st century.”
The Salinas Solar Park will be the first of the proposed three plants to begin operations. The other two projects will be located in Isabela and Yabucoa in Puerto Rico. The three PV projects will have a combined PV capacity of 80MW and the output will be supplied to PREPA.
Sonnedix currently operates a number of plants in Spain, France, Italy and Thailand. The company also has several projects under development in Asia, Africa and Europe.