Panama: Billions in Solar Energy?

The company SkyPower has said it will invest in Panama $1 billion over 5 years in the construction of power plants and a solar energy research center.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

After meetings with President Varela in the US, one of the largest solar companies in the world issued a press release announcing the construction of wind farms that will generate up to 500 MW, with an investment of one billion dollars.

SkyPower's investments in Panama will include, according to the statement, $50 million in a solar energy research center, support for the program My First School-a public-private partnership which works to improve the structures of schools throughout the country- and scholarship programs for Panamanian students.

No other details have been released about these projects or how they will fit in with the energy policy of Panama, at a time when low oil prices and uncertainty about the profitability of solar power generation, have made such investments less appealing.

From the press release by Skypower:

During the 70th United Nations General Assembly in New York, SkyPower, the world’s largest developer and owner of utility-scale solar projects, made a historic announcement with President Juan Carlos Varela, unveiling its plans to build 500 MW of utility-scale solar energy over the next five years in Panama, representing an investment of US $1 billion.
In addition to building 500 MW of solar projects in Panama, SkyPower will also construct a US $50 million world-class solar and environmental research centre in Panama dedicated to the advancement of solar photovoltaic (PV) innovation as well as advanced research and innovation in environmental sciences.
To be built in affiliation with several leading universities and research institutions, this research facility will clearly distinguish Panama as the definitive hub for new solar technologies and innovation in Central America, and is expected to generate significant licensing revenues for Panama.
Furthermore, SkyPower is proud to announce it will fund 250 scholarships for Panamanian students who are studying in the fields of solar technology and environmental sustainability, through an annual grant of 10 scholarships per year for each of the 25 years its solar projects are generating clean energy. This investment in the future of Panamanian students will begin with the first kWh of energy that SkyPower’s solar-energy projects will generate in Panama.
SkyPower is proud of its commitment to sustainability and educating youth, and has made a landmark commitment to sponsor a school for each megawatt it installs on Panamanian soil.
“SkyPower invests in countries that uphold environmental sustainability and preservation while advancing their economies and industries. The future of Panama looks bright, as the leadership of Panama is clearly focused on the need for clean renewable energy and has embraced solar as a cost-effective means of addressing Panama’s energy needs today, and as a critical part of its generation mix for its bright future,” said Kerry Adler, SkyPower President and Chief Executive Officer.
“We welcome the announcement from SkyPower and look forward to working together to bring US investment dollars for clean energy and green jobs to Panama,” said Emanuel Gonzalez-Revilla, Ambassador of the Republic of Panama to the United States.
“SkyPower’s estimated US $1 billion investment is expected to create more than 10,000 total job years in Panama, and create opportunity to export solar panels proudly made in Panama,” added SkyPower Chief Commercial Officer Charles Cohen.
SkyPower has a long history of working closely with local communities to produce hundreds of millions of kilowatt hours (kWh) of clean electricity every year, while ensuring that those closest to the developments reap the rewards of new jobs, education, skills training and opportunities for youth.

More on this topic

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The photovoltaic power plant will make 2.4 megawatts of power in the first phase and in the second phase capacity will be doubled (4.8 MW), reported the state-run Electricity Generating Company (Egesa).

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