Import Duties Obstructing Planned Barbados Solar Cell Plant

- Advertisement -

With construction of a planned US$20 million solar photovoltaic manufacturing plant in Barbados yet to get off the ground, officials of the Canada-based Deltro Group Limited say they have been awarded a “significant contract” to build, own and operate a similar facility in northwestern Cuba.

That project, which is to be operated and maintained by Union Electrica de Cuba (UNE) and tied to the national grid, is expected to begin in January 2018.

It was back in February that Deltro officials had announced that planning permission had finally been granted for the construction of its ten-megawatt solar farm and solar panel manufacturing facility in Kendall Hill, Christ Church.

However, the company’s Chief Financial Officer and Vice President Dean Del Mastro had told journalists that $4 million in import duties was standing in the way of the Barbados development.

“We still have some i’s to dot and t’s to cross, but the fact that our plan has been signed off on by the Chief Town Planner is a significant achievement,” Del Mastro said at the time, while promising that once the tax exemption was granted, construction of the manufacturing facility would begin, creating about 500 jobs.

However, while assuring that those plans were still on stream, Del Mastro said the company intended in the meantime to utilize services from Barbados to support its planned investment in Cuba.

“To support the construction, Deltro will contract a number of leading companies to assist our team and will work to source as much content from Barbados as possible. While thousands of workers in Cuba will realize a significant benefit as a result of this investment, Deltro will also seek to involve our operations in Barbados to the greatest extent possible,” he said.

He added that the company’s goal was “to always provide the greatest employment and investment benefits to local workers and companies in any country where we are operating while also securing trade benefits for Barbados and Canada whenever possible.”

In a release this week, the company also announced that its subsidiary, Deltro Energy Inc., had entered into a joint venture with Indian state-owned Energy Efficiency Services Limited and United Kingdom-based EnergyPro Limited and battery manufacturer Leclanché.

This partnership will see to the completion of the advanced battery storage project in Ontario, Canada, known as Basin 1 and 2. The project is the first utility scale energy storage facility designed to balance the Ontario power grid. Officials say it is already near completion and will see to a total investment of about US$25 million.

- Advertisement -