NEW YORK, NY — UGE International, along with local partner OTEPI Renewables, completed the installation of solar energy systems for six facilities owned by Cochez y Cia, SA (“Cochez”) in Panama.

The newly commissioned systems will substantially lower Cochez’s electricity bills at each site by offsetting up to 80% of the buildings’ energy usage.

“We have always maintained a strong commitment to social responsibility in our operations,” said Raul Cochez, CEO of Cochez. “We chose UGE and OTEPI for their expertise in developing custom solar systems to further that environmental commitment, optimize our long term operational costs and transform ourselves into the leading sustainable company in the country.”

With a capacity of 1.2MW, these six sites are the first of an estimated 22 site portfolio that UGE and OTEPI will install and commission in the next 12 months. The installations will be the largest portfolio of commercial solar ever installed in Panama. The grid-tied solar PV systems utilize UGE SeamlessGrid inverters and UGE’s award-winning ViewUGE Plus monitoring systems.

Panamanian law allows net metering for projects below 500kW; therefore each individual site will qualify. With net metering, Cochez will maximize the return on investment from their solar systems and improve their carbon footprint.

“Panama’s vast solar resources make it an ideal place for companies looking to use the sun’s energy to boost their bottom line,” said Nick Blitterswyk, CEO of UGE. “Since electricity costs often comprise a large portion of a facility’s operating expenses, smart companies like Cochez are switching to distributed energy to protect against future utility rate volatility.”

UGE and OTEPI installed a 187.5kW system at another Cochez location earlier this year. The companies expect to deploy a total of 4.5MW across all of Cochez’s facilities in Panama, making it the largest commercial solar portfolio to be installed in the country.

Since signing a strategic agreement last year, UGE and OTEPI have emerged as market leaders for rooftop solar in the region, working together on several solar projects for commercial clients. Demand for rooftop solar is growing rapidly in Central America. According to a report by IHS Technology, total PV capacity is poised to reach 243MW in Central America by the end of this year, from just 6MW in 2013.

“Latin America has tremendous potential for solar energy and distributed generation” said Luis E Paúl, CEO of OTEPI. “UGE and OTEPI Renewables are helping clients and interested companies in the region to take advantage of this emerging trend both as a sustainability strategy and as a cost optimization alternative.”

Derick Lila
Derick is a Clark University graduate—and Fulbright alumni with a Master's Degree in Environmental Science, and Policy. He has over a decade of solar industry research, marketing, and content strategy experience.

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