Hydroponic solar greenhouses promote food security in the Caribbean
WESTPORT, USA — Connecticut-based Alquimi Renewables has formalized an exclusive long term licensing agreement with engineering firm Megalo Solutions Inc., of Phoeni,x Arizona, to supply and construct off-grid hydroponic solar greenhouses, which will promote food security throughout the Caribbean and Latin America trade regions.
Alquimi currently has four projects under development in the Caribbean, each comprising a minimum of 500,000 square feet of climate controlled solar powered greenhouse space, and four other operational sites under consideration through a strategic deployment plan across the region.
Ralph Birkhoff, principal and director of business development for Alquimi, stated: “Our pilot project is targeted for St Croix, in the US Virgin Islands, and we expect to be operational there within the next 10-14 months. We are working with local experts and stakeholders to support these projects, and look forward to establishing the first of many such projects across the region. The interest level has been tremendous, particularly from the tourism sector, as it will create a reliable higher quality supply of fresh produce, and promote food security for all islands in the region.”
Alquimi has also secured project financing towards the establishment of up to eight planned operations in the region. Future sites in Central and South America are currently also being explored.
The agreement appoints Alquimi Renewables as the exclusive project developer for the region utilizing the Megalo proprietary agricultural technologies employed in their commercial off-grid solar greenhouse systems. The technology represents the first engineered, hurricane resistant solar greenhouse system available, and will directly support much needed agricultural development across a region constantly threatened by high risk climate conditions.
The systems can also supply the local utilities or other off-takers with up to 3-5MW of electricity generated from a typical 15-20 acre greenhouse site.
The Caribbean islands (Cuba excepted) currently import approximately US$1.3 billion of its annual fresh produce requirements from the US and other markets. The establishment of a series of commercial scale greenhouse growing systems, utilizing state-of-the-art solar energy generation, thermal energy storage, climate controlled environments, water production systems, and hydroponic growing systems, will accelerate the displacement of this imported food bill and create the opportunity for the region to achieve self-sustainability in local food production.
Substantial job creation, export opportunities, and agri-processing investment will stem immediately from these agricultural investments.
Alquimi plans to partner with existing commercial farmers in each location to help accelerate local indigenous crop production and provide them access to supply chain relationships. The business model also includes working with learning institutions to help “Grow More Farmers” by bringing young people back to farming through new technologies.
“We’re extremely excited about formalizing our relationship with the PowerGrow/Megalo team,” said John Martin, principal and managing partner of Alquimi. “This will allow Alquimi to continue its strategic development of our technology based solar greenhouse projects across a broad region which has been consistently challenged by commercial grade food and energy production.”