Net metering in Dominican Republic shows results

A 267 kWp turnkey project built by Sofos Dominicana, a subsidiary of Spanish group Sofos Energia, has become the latest photovoltaic plant to begin operation in the Dominican Republic.

The country boasts the recently inaugurated 1.5 MW plant built at the Cibao International Airport — the largest photovoltaic project in the country and one of the few megawatt scale installations in the Caribbean.

The airport plant operates under the Dominican Republic’s net metering scheme, which went into effect in June 2011. Commercial and residential photovoltaic projects under the program currently account for about 6 MW in the country, according to Enrique Ramirez, president of the country’s National Energy Commission.

The plant has been running since April and the country has just brought a smaller project online in Santo Domingo.

Sofos Dominicana, a subsidiary of Spanish group Sofos Energia, built the $700,000 266.56 kWp turnkey plant atop the Hotel Dominican Fiesta in the capital city. The plant employs 1,088 245 Wp polycrystaline panels made by Germany’s Schüco and 34 7 kW SMA inverters.

The Dominican Republic, along with Mexico, is one of the Latin American countries with the highest volume of photovoltaic net metering. In Mexico, more than 10 MW have been installed under the country’s program.

The Cibao International Airport project provides the facility, located in Santiago de los Caballeros — the country’s second largest city — with about 40% of its energy needs.

Trace designed the plant as a turnkey project, according to the company’s president, Jose Hernandez.

Trace installed three GT500 MVX grid tie solar inverters from French firm Schneider Electric and 5,880 SolarWorld monocrystalline modules, which are mounted on fixed SolarWorld structures. Swiss company Carlo Gavazzi provided the monitoring system for the plant.

Ramirez has said that another plant of 800 kW will soon begin operation on the premises of a plastics company.

Megawatt scale plants remain scarce in the Caribbean, although Cuba recently connected a solar plant of 1 MW to its grid.