To Expedite Resilient Solar in the Caribbean, Collaboration is Key

14 Jul 2020

Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), the Clinton Foundation and the United Nations Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries, and Small Island Developing States released a joint report that details how island policymakers and regulators can work together to enhance the resilience of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems across the Caribbean.

The Caribbean and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) continue to face more frequent and intense weather events. When critical infrastructure, like hospitals and schools, are without power, communities suffer deeply. Solar PV systems are a way to increase the resilience of the grid and greatly improve people's access to reliable electricity, but they are useless if they fail.

The report underscores the need to ensure resilient solar PV systems are installed in the most cost-effective and collaborative way. Other key topics include incentivizing the use of the correct equipment and ensuring building codes incorporate resilient solar PV design and construction standards.

"I cannot stress enough the value of stakeholder collaboration. Collaboration ensures that the correct equipment is available, known best practices are enforced, and that systems are built to the highest standards. These components ensure that islands build the most resilient solar projects and ultimately more resilient communities," said Jules Kortenhorst, Chief Executive Officer, RMI.

Key recommendations for collaboration presented in the report include:

  • Identify opportunities for increased resilience, which require multiparty consideration and action but do not represent current industry standard actions;

  • Encourage collaboration between installers and module suppliers/distributors to ensure local availability of specified modules;

  • Collaborate with equipment suppliers to implement incentives so that Category 5 standards are incorporated without putting local suppliers out of business.

"In the Sustainable Development Goals, the world committed to ensuring access to affordable, reliable and modern energy for all. Many Small Island Developing States are emerging as frontrunners in the pursuit of renewable energy, with solar power leading the way. International support in the form of access to finance, investments and technology will be critical to accelerate their transition—and their resilience," said Fekitamoeloa Katoa 'Utoikamanu, High Representative for the UN-OHRLLS.

"As we continue our work across the Caribbean, we hope it helps to move forward climate discussions around the world. We are proud to partner with RMI and UN OHRLLS to share these best practices with the global community. Today, it is even more important to find reliable, cost-effective energy solutions to keep essential services up and running in the face of extreme weather events and the current pandemic," explained Sanya Detweiler, Associate Director, Clinton Climate Initiative.

Solar Under Storm for Policymakers is the third in a series of reports by RMI and partners that focus on installing hurricane-resilient solar systems. The first Solar Under Storm guide discussed the root causes of past solar failures focused on ground-mounted systems. Solar Under Storm Part II explored best practices for equipment and procedures for rooftop systems.

To download the Solar Under Storm for Policymakers report, visit Solar Under Storm for Policymakers: Select Best Practices for Resilient Photovoltaic Systems for Small Island Developing States.

RMI | http://www.rmi.org 

Clinton Foundation | https://http://www.clintonfoundation.org/

UN-OHRLLS | http://unohrlls.org