Solar Energy Firm Eyes $7 Million Investment In Saipan

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Guam-based Micronesia Renewable Energy owned by giant Sunnova

By Joel D. Pinaroc

SAIPAN, CNMI (Saipan Tribune, March 5, 2015) – A company based in Guam plans to set up an office on Saipan to offer solar panels to residents.

Jeffrey Voacolo, vice president of Micronesia Renewable Energy, Inc., said the company is planning to set up an office in the Commonwealth in "two to three weeks" and put in staff.

He said the company is also looking for office space and a warehouse.

Voacolo also said Sunnova Energy Corp., the mother company of Micronesia Renewable Energy, plans to invest $7 million or more in setting up the Saipan office.

"Sunnova invested $7 million to set up the office in Guam. We are looking at investing the same, if not more, for Saipan," Voacolo said.

Listed company Sunnova Energy Corp. is one of the largest solar services companies in the U.S. and is based in Houston, Texas.

Voacolo said Micronesia Renewable Energy is eyeing to target residents and not business entities on Saipan.

He said this is also the company’s business model in Guam, where it currently has an installed base of close to 200 residents.

"We see that there is demand and potential [on] Saipan," Voacolo said, noting that solar panels could be one of the alternatives to alleviate high electricity rates on the island.

He emphasized that beyond the solar solutions, the company is also coming in to hire local staff and conduct training sessions in the CNMI.

The use of renewable energy is not new in the CNMI. In fact, a net metering law has been signed by government last month specifically for the health and education sectors.

In 2014, the Commonwealth Utilities Corp. announced that its $40-million contract for a solar energy project was underway. American Capital Energy was awarded the exclusive right to negotiate a solar power purchase agreement with CUC in 2011.

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