BASSETERRE, St.Kitts (Monday 5th April 2021)– Leclanché, a Swiss-based provider of energy storage solutions, has declared a loss in its 2020 financial statements, and partnership with the government of St.Kitts and Nevis is debatably expected to improve the company’s monetary records.
Notably, the company has declared losses of an average of CHF 31 million (Swiss Francs) each year from 2012 to 2019; 2019 was the highest year with losses of CHF 83.4 million while its half year reporting to June 2020 was a loss of CHF 37.4 million.
In December 2020, the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis announced that it was entering in a partnership with Leclanché to build out a “fully integrated solar photovoltaic generation and lithium-ion battery energy storage system, will displace 30-35% of the islands’ diesel-generated baseload power.” This relationship would see Swiss partner owning more than 50% of the arrangement.
Leclanché is on the record blaming delays in this arrangement for its financial malaise in 2020. The Swiss firm had had expectations of turning its financial fortunes and a decade of losses around by doing business in the federation.
UK-based editor and reporter of Energy Storage News reported, “One of the reasons for its balance sheet difficulties in 2020 was delays to activities due to COVID-19, with the slowing of progress on a project to build a 35.6MW solar PV farm with 44.2MWh of battery storage in St. Kitts and Nevis in the Caribbean among the main factors.”
The delays in St.Kitts and Nevis may now come to an end as the company secured CHF59.6 million of financing from equity and asset fund investors. Before this, the company had been strapped for cash and was unable to start work in the federation.
In a March 30, 2021 press release, Leclanché projected, “In the Stationary Storage Business, continuing delivery of the St. Kitts and Nevis project and additional new stationary projects in fast EV charging applications will deliver turnover growth and positive margin.”
At the sod-turning event in December 2020, Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris described the arrangement with Leclanché as a “visionary project will help secure our energy independence, provide long-term price stability and reduce our reliance on diesel fuel.”
As gathered, the energy independent outlook of the prime minister will come at the expense of repatriation of millions of local dollars to shore up the Swiss company and economy.
Deputy Prime Minister Richards praised the arrangement as having economic benefits “without having to make a costly up-front investment.”
Speaking in confidence with this publication, a local educator and economic analyst said, “Richards needs to read Jamaican economist George Beckford and learn that what he is promoting is the perpetuation of the plantation economy where businesses operate in our country for the financial benefit of some other developed economy.
“To be proud to say that we have not spent any money on the investment of transforming our energy independence is to say that we prefer to provide economic opportunities for others before we consider how we can empower our people in this or any other venture,” the economic analyst concluded.
The arrangement between the St.Kitts-Nevis government and Leclanché is expected to give the Swiss company the opportunity to become profitable while local energy company, SKELEC through a 20-year power purchase agreement, will be a profit-making client of Leclanché