Guam officials say solar power project to create more jobs, opportunities

The Guam Power Authority’s first renewable energy project — the 20-megawatt solar facility near Layon Landfill along Dandan road — will create more local jobs and opportunities, according to Guam Power Authority General Manager Joaquin Flores.
On June 27, GPA signed a contract with Quantum Utility Generation to officially launch the project.

Flores stated: “There’s obviously a significant opportunity for the people to obtain a job with this new development. Quantum will have to purchase or lease a property for this development, which is private property, not GovGuam property. They are hiring contractors on Guam who are licensed to do construction to build this development.”

Based on projections, the construction phase of the project will create around 80 or more jobs. Once the infrastructure is in place, personnel will be hired to maintain and operate the facility, according to Flores.

“It will also provide an opportunity for Guam Community College to establish a new industry, where people can be trained for solar and photovoltaics,” Flores added.

According to Quantum Utility Generation Chief Development Officer Dirk Straussfeld, the construction of the new solar facility requires more than $95 million in initial investment over the next 12 months.

“Ultimately we are planning to finance the project, and we expect between 50 to 60 percent of loans, and the rest is coming from us. We are capitalized well over half a billion dollars. The need for equity is well within our abilities to provide,” Straussfeld said.

After the 20-megawatt solar facility contract, the GPA will be moving on to another project that will produce an additional 15 megawatts of solar and wind power, according to Flores.

“It is for 10 megawatts of wind and 5 megawatts of solar power. That’s a 20-year contract with PGR Guam. We hope to have a final contract by August of this year,” he explained.

The new project requires a lot of lead time, according to Flores, since wind technology requires monitoring data for a year or two before actually making a commitment or investment in the project.

He said the first contract for solar power and the second new contract with PGR Guam are just initial components of the overall renewable energy project for Guam.

“At the end of summer, we are preparing to receive a tender for another 40 or 50 megawatts for any renewable technology. We are not restricting it to solar energy or wind power. Anything that exists – biomass, biofuels, geothermal energy, wave, whatever type of renewable technology. As long as it is commercially-proven technology and can satisfy our economic test for feasibility,” Flores stated.