When it comes to creating a sustainable environment, Dart has been committed to the cause from its inception and continues to look for ways to reduce its carbon footprint.
Chip Ogilvie, Director of Property Operations at Dart Real Estate, came up with the idea of installing solar arrays throughout Camana Bay and other Dart-owned properties quite serendipitously.
Back in 2011 when he first began working for the company, Ogilvie stumbled upon a storeroom full of solar panels that were just collecting dust. They couldn’t be utilised for a previous project due to approval issues with the Planning Department’s Building Control Unit.
“After researching the performance of solar in this area along with the high electrical costs, I went down the road of getting these panels installed as an offset to our electric-car charging stations. These panels are still producing more power than we give away at the car charging stations each year,” says Ogilvie. Those original 5kW solar panels ended up being installed at the Solaris Avenue parking garage — a project that took Ogilvie one and a half years to complete. Since then there’s been a directive to install as many solar panels as possible throughout Dart properties, due to their many benefits.
More than 750kW of solar arrays have been installed collectively in Camana Bay and at other Dart properties. In Camana Bay, this includes the roofs of: 18 Forum Lane, Regal Cinemas, Books & Books, the Arts & Recreation Centre, Solaris Avenue parking garage and Market Street’s taxi stand shade structure. Off-site properties with solar arrays include the Cayman Distributors Limited warehouse roof, and the roofs of The Residences at Seafire and Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa.
This past February, Dart completed installation of solar arrays on Cayman International School’s roof, and up next will be the One Nexus Way building. Another project currently in progress is the installation of solar arrays by the 25-metre swimming pool at the Camana Bay Sports Complex. Ogilvie believes those will provide much-needed shade to the area surrounding the pool, including the soon-to-be-built bleacher seating area. “It will also reduce the costs of operating the pool in the long run,” he says.
All of these projects operate as part of Caribbean Utilities Company’s CORE FIT programme, which allows customers to connect to CUC’s distribution grid in exchange for credits for generated power. The result is a saving in costs while simultaneously generating renewable energy.
“Solar arrays convert the sun’s energy to electricity which is fed back into the grid to offset electrical bills. Since less power is needed from the power company, they help reduce the carbon emissions and diesel fuel needed at the power plant, which effectively lowers our carbon footprint,” says Ogilvie, adding that new storage technology that is available will allow for even more solar installations in the future on a global level.
“Total kilowatts of solar installations in the future will be limited only by real estate needs and the total load they can support.” Ogilvie says.