SkyPower agrees $1bn deal to build 500 MW of solar in Panama

From Kenya to Bangladesh via Djibouti and Egypt, 2015 has been a year of grandiose development announcements for Canadian solar developer SkyPower, and the company is not quite done just yet.

This week SkyPower CEO and president Kerry Adler met with the President of Central American nation Panama, Juan Carlos Varela, to discuss the terms of a $1 billion investment in the country’s solar energy sector (link in Spanish), including plans to build 500 MW of large-scale solar farms over the next five years, as well as the construction of a $50 million solar and environmental research center.

The center will be dedicated to the advancement of solar PV innovation and other environmental sciences, with the aim being to "distinguish Panama as the definitive hub for new solar technologies and innovation in Central America".

SkyPower also states that it will fund the scholarships of 250 Panamanian students that are currently studying in the fields of solar technology and environmental sustainability. Funding will be provided via an annual grant of 10 scholarships per year, during the 25 years that the installed solar farms are generating power.

"SkyPower invests in countries that uphold their environmental sustainability and preservation while advancing their economies and industries," Adler said. "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."

SkyPower CCO Charles Cohen added that the $1 billion investment will also create an estimated 10,000 "total job years" in the country, as well as potential opportunities for Panama to export its own solar panels to other markets.