Kickoff nears for big Guanacaste solar projects

A series of multi-million dollar projects designed to install solar panels throughout Guanacaste should soon be under way, according to the heads of Sun Fund Americas. Company president Craig Williamson and his partner, Frank Biden, the brother of the U. S. vice president, said they are set to begin their solar farm developments with the Guanacaste Country Club in Liberia.

According to Williamson, Sun Fund Americas has more than $800 million in financing for its alternative energy model. They will use the money to set out on an ambitious vision to install solar energy throughout 14 countries in Latin America, beginning with Costa Rica. Biden was optimistic that the country club’s groundwork could start being laid in the next 60 days.

“Costa Rica is the jewel of Central America,” he said. “Our confidence in Costa Rica has been evident for a long time.”

Plans started to accelerate once the landscape of the international economy smoothed out and businesses were willing to invest more in foreign enterprises. But Williamson and Biden, along with their third business partner, Roberto Batalla, agreed that the blueprints for this eco-conscious and profitable venture always had Costa Rica on the forefront.

“Costa Rica has a long ways to go to get to their goal of renewable power,” Williamson said. “But it is still the most efficient and cost effective way to produce energy.”

As energy costs become a mounting burden for Costa Rican businesses and homes, more and more are pulling for a future in which solar energy is not only available, but also viable.  According to a presentation done by Sun Fund Americas, a standard 100-megawatt solar farm that consists of 300,000 solar panels will cover 1,000 acres of land and can give energy to 20,000 homes.

Biden said that the chain of solar-based energy suppliers will cause a rocketing effect in the local job market. The same presentation claimed that solar energy infrastructures can create 15 times more jobs than natural gas and coal.

Biden laid out the idea of a community in which the workers are able to live in the same space that they help to construct or manage, as opposed to resort or retail workers who are forced to look through the glass at an area they may not be able to financially access. He said the planned solar-powered areas of Guanacaste can offer upscale living at a reasonable price. And even further into the future, the company would like to make the involved communities remain independent and sustainable.

”When you allow people to take ownership themselves, they produce a much better project,” Biden said.

In total, the company plans to install 2,000 megawatts worth of solar panels throughout Latin America. Domestically, Williamson and Biden confirmed that Sun Fund Americas has been collaborating with EARTH University and Ad Astra Rocket Co., which is led by U.S.-Costa Rican astronaut Franklin Chang Díaz. They said they also have received backed interest from Delta Holdings & Development, an internationally involved firm that constructs hotels and casinos. According to Biden, many other hopeful investors and partners were overlooked because they did not share a similar vision in focusing on giving back to community over bottom-line profit.

The initial reaction from the people of Guanacaste has been one of collective excitement, said the Sun Fund Americas leaders. These opportunities in setting up renewable energies and their prospective effects on the population even led Biden to say it was a privilege to be assigned with such a task.

“The whole project is a marriage of consciousness and convenience.”

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