Ciro One Salinas inaugurates $220M solar panel, battery park
The first phase of Ciro One Salinas, a $220 million solar panel and battery project in Salinas by Renewable Energy Systems by LORD and Depcom Power, has been officially inaugurated to boost Puerto Rico’s power grid.
The project is located on a 280-acre plot in Salinas. Its first phase consists of 260,000 solar panels and batteries – capable of withstanding winds up to 175 miles per hour – which will produce 90 megawatts for the grid.
After all its development phases are complete, the project will generate enough energy to power 60,000 typical Puerto Rican homes. The cost of the project is funded by a combination of local private capital and is expected to begin operating in 2024.
More than 370 direct jobs and around 1,000 indirect jobs were created during the peak of construction, of which 85% were workers from the island’s southern area and 12% being women, company President Mario Tomasini said.
“We’re proud of this project that will strengthen our island’s energy network, with a scale that will allow us to get closer to meeting the goals set for renewable energy generation, while at the same time promoting the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming and climate change,” Tomasini said.
In addition, the company plans to maximize the use of the land through agro-industrial project initiatives in conservation areas, under solar panels, and raising of sheep to control vegetation and meat sales.
“The model of integrating diverse activities in solar panel parks has been carried out successfully in many parts of the world. We’re currently creating the plan to incorporate them into Ciro One Salinas so that Puerto Rico is an example of integrating agriculture with clean and efficient energy generation,” Tomasini said.
“To do this, we’re in talks with several universities on the island, as well as local and international experts, establishing alliances in its development,” he added.
Ciro One Salinas has a 25-year power purchase and operation agreement with the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) and the approval of the Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico and the Puerto Rico Energy Bureau, and was reviewed and accepted by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court.
It is estimated that the rates at which it will sell the generated energy will be among the lowest purchased by PREPA, with a cost of less than 10 cents per kilowatt-hour.
“I’m grateful that the project developers have decided to reserve more than 10% of the land for the development of agricultural activities, which will allow the potential of the area to be taken advantage of, as well as help mitigate runoff,” said Gov. Pedro Pierluisi, who was on hand for the unveiling.
Tomasini highlighted the importance of diversifying energy sources and developing renewables at all scales with a variety of technologies and through the establishment of microgrids for critical infrastructure, and support for residences in vulnerable communities and projects to protect batteries at strategic points.
“All these elements can represent the foundation for Puerto Rico to have a robust, modern and resilient electrical network. This isn’t a vision of the future, it’s viable in the present,” Tomasini said.