The Government of Montserrat Invests in a Solar Photovoltaics

Montserrat is a mountainous Caribbean island, a British Overseas Territory, in the West Indies. Like many island nations, Montserrat is almost entirely dependent on imported fossil fuels, leaving it vulnerable to global oil price fluctuations that directly impact the cost of electricity.

With 45 percent of the island’s imported fuel used solely for electricity generation, the government understands the value of investing in renewable energy sources and has formulated a robust national energy policy towards self-sustainability, representing the desire of the Montserrat people to improve the country for this and future generations.

Use of S-5!’s RibBracket III and the S-5-PVKIT 2.0 allowed for direct attachment of the PV panels to the existing metal roofs. Photos: S-5!

Upon consultation with local, regional and international partners, they determined the best path forward would be to incorporate solar photovoltaics (PV) and battery storage into their electrical infrastructure ― three government buildings normally powered by high-cost power from diesel generators.

This was the first phase of two planned renewable energy projects to reduce the dependence on fossil fuel for power generation. Phase one, 250kW of rooftop solar PV, provides 10 percent of the grid’s peak daytime demand. Phase two will consist of an additional 750kW of solar and nearly 1100kWh battery storage, which will collectively provide 45 percent of Montserrat’s daytime peak electrical load.

Overcoming Obstacles

Numerous challenges presented themselves due to the age of the roof and the remote location of the island. The 15-year-old, trapezoidal metal roof profile is common in the Caribbean but limited the customer’s options for mounting solar, as few products exist for this particular roof profile without the need for custom-designing an expensive solution. In addition, the area is prone to hurricanes so the design wind load requirements necessitated a product capable of withstanding 180 mile per hour wind loads.

Furthermore, shipping logistics presented a challenge to this remote island. Transporting traditional rail would be extremely costly and suffer long delivery times since there is no direct shipping from the United States.

The Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) Contractor, SALT Energy, employed local subcontractors to install and wire an 824-solar panel PV system across five slopes of three buildings. The integration of this new power source means the citizens of Montserrat can expect greater savings on their electricity bills, greater fuel savings and lower fuel surcharges.

Use of S-5!’s revolutionary RibBracket III, specifically designed for this unique roof profile, and the S-5-PVKIT 2.0 solar solution, allowed for direct-attach or rail-less PV mounting to the metal roofs, and the systems were engineered to withstand area hurricane-force winds for this project.

The photovoltaic systems were engineered to withstand area hurricane-force winds.

Using this approach to solar mounting provided a significant decrease in the amount of material required to ship. A traditional, three-rail system would have involved 10,000 feet of rail and required a full 40-foot container to ship. S-5! provided six attachments per module shipped on one standard palette―a 50 percent savings on product cost and 70 percent savings on shipping.

It also meant the PV panels could be directly attached to the ribs of the exposed-fastened metal roof, providing for installation efficiency and flexibility every 12 inches (N-S) for placing the attachments directly into the roof. This distributed the load more prudently and uniformly into the trapezoidal panels, also by staggering the attachments on alternating ribs.

As an added bonus, the project provided educational opportunities for local mechanics, electricians, students and first responders who participated in training workshops to broaden their knowledge of the solar industry.

Long-Term Outlook

The government of Montserrat was able to reduce its dependency on imported fossil fuels and supplement its power generation by adding solar PV and battery storage to its electrical infrastructure.

“SALT Energy serves the most demanding market in the U.S. and the Caribbean for solar installations due to projects in High-Velocity Hurricane Zones and coastal exposure by the Atlantic Ocean,” says David Kaul, Operations and Engineering Director, SALT Energy. “Our design wind load requirements are the highest in the U.S. Attachment engineering is at the heart of every project we do, and we choose only the highest quality products. That’s why we rely on S-5! for our attachment needs.”


Developer: Government of Montserrat/Montserrat Utilities Limited

EPC Contractor: SALT Energy, Marathon, Florida,


Solar Attachment: RibBracket III (3,315), S-5-PVKIT 2.0 (3,315), S-5!,

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