2017 CUC CORE Program Rates announced by CUC and OfReg

Would be solar customers and companies working the industry finally received the official word what the 2017 CUC CORE program rates would be six months into the year that is. In June CUC and the Office of Regulation and Competition Office (formerly ERA now OfReg) announced new rates for the CUC CORE FIT program for customers who wish to install solar energy systems for their home or commercial use.

The office reports an additional capacity of 2 megawatts would be available for reservation starting immediately but, it should be noted that CUC and the Office of Regulation have limited the program to only 1 MW at this time, with the second megawatt to be released but, at revised feed-in tariff rates.

Mr. Louis Boucher, Acting Executive Director – Energy & Utilities’ says, “The design of the 2017 CUC CORE Program is intended to continue growing the CORE program’s participation by paying fair rates to participants while ensuring that the rates paid and the aggregate capacity limits do not materially increase costs to non-CORE customers. With that in mind OfReg and CUC will review the program at the earlier of six months or when the take-up has reached 750 kW of the first 1 MW tranche of capacity.”

The CORE program has been in effect since 2010 but almost every year CUC and OfReg make changes that materially affect the size and costs for the customer who chooses to install solar. Once the solar panel system is installed the power generated is added to the national electrical grid and the customer gets paid (via their CUC bill) every month for up to 25 years.

Ray Johnson with Cayman Solar shares “The 2017 CUC CORE Program is a great program but, the management of it has made people suspicious of CUC and the OfReg stemming of course from their changes, delays and overall uncertainty that comes from no National Energy Policy. Those of us working in the industry are forced to manage the suspicions along with the ebb and tide effect that makes running any business difficult. Consumers and contractors alike wish for a stable program with limited changes”.

The 2017 CUC CORE program is intended to encourage persons to install smaller systems. Rates for system sizes up to 5 kilowatts (kW) get the best rates of CI$.30 per kWhr. The next category is for those over 5 kW and up to 10 kW pays CI$.26 per kWhr. Those that install systems over 20 kW will be offered the existing rate of CI$0.21 per kWhr. The cap on the maximum size remains at 100 kW.

The size allowed has not changed and is determined and restricted by the normal kW peak load of the consumer. The peak load can be read on the meter, the CUC light bill or by consulting with CUC customer service. The peak demand is the highest amount of power required at any 15-minute period of any day during the year. Some persons feel this method is unfair for the customer and limits the size of system but despite this frustration the method for determining the size of a 2017 CUC CORE program has not changed since its inception.

This CORE program takes into consideration the long term goals of the recently passed National Energy Policy, the “soon to be” completed Integrated Resource Plan (“IRP”) study and the Demand Rates initiative but, again persons are skeptical since the IRP was promised over a year ago while spokespersons from CUC have been dodgy about the actual release date.

OfReg anticipates that this initiative will stimulate the expansion of the renewable energy industry in Cayman in accordance with the National Energy Policy while many persons associated with the solar industry say all this does is slow solar adoption in The Cayman Islands.

Customers wishing to obtain further details or to participate in the CORE program may contact CUC’s Customer Service Department at 345-949-4300.

The CORE Credit & Interconnection Agreement can be obtained on CUC’s website at https://www.cuc-cayman.com/coreprogramme.

For more information please also visit the OfReg website at www.ofreg.ky

To contact Cayman Solar please click here