OPIC supports 20 MW J’can Solar Energy Facility

People watching men sign papers. (Embassy Image)
Seated L-R: OPIC Chief of Staff John Morton and WRB’s Chairman and CEO G. Robert Blanchard. Looking on: Permanent Secretary Hillary Alexander, U.S. Ambassador Luis G. Moreno and Energy Minister Phillip Paulwell

The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the U.S. Government’s Development Finance Institution, today signed a financing agreement with Content Solar Ltd., solidifying a $47 million OPIC loan to support a 20 megawatt grid-connected solar photo voltaic facility in Clarendon, Jamaica. The project is being developed by Tampa, Fla.-based WRB Enterprises (WRB).

WRB will be the first investor to develop a utility-scale solar energy generation facility in Jamaica. The project is also the second to be financed by OPIC in support of the Caribbean Energy Security Initiative, a U.S. government effort announced by Vice President Biden in June 2014.

Reliable, sustainable energy will provide Jamaica’s economy important stability, and help the country make important progress toward energy security. Especially for island nations, power generation from traditional thermal sources can be expensive and volatile due to the cost of imported fuels.

Jamaica currently generates over 90% of its electricity from imported oil, and in addition to fulfilling the U.S. initiative, OPIC’s financing to Content Solar for this new solar facility also supports the Jamaican Government’s own goals to increase generation of secure, renewable energy.

WRB’s Chairman and CEO G. Robert Blanchard signed the agreement alongside OPIC Chief of Staff John Morton. Jamaican Minister of Energy Phillip Paulwell and U.S. Ambassador to Jamaica Luis G. Moreno officiated the ceremony.

“The largest in the Caribbean, WRB’s Content Solar project will deliver clean, reliable, renewable energy at a stable price to Jamaica for decades to come. It will power more than 20,000 Jamaican homes, while displacing more than 3 million gallons of fuel each year. It is an important milestone not only for Jamaica, but the entire Caribbean,” said WRB’s Chairman, Robert Blanchard.

“OPIC’s financing to WRB for Content Solar will both help the Jamaican people take an important step toward energy security and also show that Jamaica is a market where private investors can find opportunity for growth. I’m eager to build on our long, productive relationship with WRB to help show that renewable power is more than a positive environmental step, it makes sound business sense,” said John Morton, OPIC’s Chief of Staff.

“We are very excited that WRB Enterprises, a U.S. company, committed to making this substantial investment,” Ambassador Moreno stated. “This supports my priority to spur U.S. investment in Jamaica. I’m proud to say that U.S. private investment in renewable energy in Jamaica will top $150 million over the next couple years. These projects wouldn’t be possible without OPIC financing.”

OPIC is the U.S. Government’s development finance institution. It mobilizes private capital to help address critical development challenges and in doing so, advances U.S. foreign policy and national security priorities. Because OPIC works with the U.S. private sector, it helps U.S. businesses gain footholds in emerging markets, catalyzing revenues, jobs and growth opportunities both at home and abroad. OPIC achieves its mission by providing investors with financing, political risk insurance, and support for private equity investment funds, when commercial funding cannot be obtained elsewhere. Established as an agency of the U.S. Government in 1971, OPIC operates on a self-sustaining basis at no net cost to American taxpayers.

All OPIC projects adhere to high environmental and social standards and respect human rights, including worker’s rights. By mandating high standards, OPIC helps raise the industry and regional standards of the countries in which its projects operate. OPIC services are available for new and expanding business enterprises in more than 160 countries worldwide.

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