French Engineering Firm Seureca is providing technical assistance to the Independent Regulatory Commission (IRC) to assess challenges associated with developing distributed solar photovoltaic (PV) systems in Dominica.
The Commission hosted the lead consultant on the project, Mr. Vincent Jalbert, who visited Dominica from March 21 to 24, 2022.
He explained that the project will guide the electricity regulator on how best access to solar power can be expanded as an affordable source of electricity generation, particularly for residential customers, and reduce reliance on diesel fuel to generate electricity.
“The project consists first of the identification of the constraints for developing solar PV panels on rooftops in Dominica. We are trying to assess the constraints in technical, financial, and regulatory terms and once we identify those constraints, we’ll make a number of recommendations to IRC with the aim of maximizing the potential for solar energy in Dominica. The objective is to reduce imported diesel to Dominica and lower the cost of electricity, which is quite high for the country,” Jalbert stated. He proposes that the approach should benefit the overall population, and not only create an opportunity for customers who can afford to invest in solar panels.
“That’s why we would probably make a recommendation to set up new mechanisms for providing financing to customers who might not have the capacity to invest directly – that’s one option that we are going to explore. There are a number of donors – international donors – that can provide financing resources to help the deployment of solar panels to Dominica,” the energy consultant added. Dominica has a high solar potential, with a solar resource of 5.6 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per square meter per day. During his trip, Jalbert met with the Executive Director of the IRC Justinn Kase, management of Dominica Electricity Services Ltd. (DOMLEC), and Dominica Geothermal Development Company (DGDC). “So far we’ve had meetings with DOMLEC which is a key player here to understand first the technical constraint [and] operational constraint … some customers already have these solar facilities and are connected to the [electricity] grid so we had discussions with DOMLEC to understand the first feedback from their experience. We also met with enterprises that supply equipment and make installation of solar panels,” he noted. L’Agence Française de Développement (AFD) is financing the feasibility study.
SEURECA is a global consulting engineering company specializing in resource management in water, energy, and waste. It is a division of the France-based Veolia Group.