The Government, in an effort to reduce schools’ dependency on the importation of fossil fuels to create energy, will spend approximately $120 million on the implementation of projects in schools under the Solar Systems Project.
Details have been outlined in the 2018/2019 Estimates of Expenditure, tabled in the House of Representatives on February 15.
Statistics have shown that an estimated annual average of 20.4 million barrels of oil equivalent (BOE) were imported during the 2010-2015 period for use in the electricity, manufacturing and transportation sectors, with an average import value of US$1.9 billion. The Solar Systems Project aims to reduce this number through the consumption by schools.
According to the Estimates, the National Education Trust Limited (NET) will be responsible for the implementation of the project, which will provide alternative energy, including solar, from photovoltaic systems to schools across the island in an effort to lessen the dependence on the Jamaica Public Service Company and reduce the current electricity bill at schools by 40 to 70 per cent.
Some of the targets under the project include complete retrofitting, upgrade and repair to roofs with solar systems at schools that have already been assessed; the payment of fees to the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) of approximately $15 million, and the development of Business Case and Cabinet Approval to proceed to Transaction Stage of the Public-Private Partnership (PPP).
The NET, which is responsible for the implementation of the projects on behalf of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, is a Government of Jamaica company, which is limited by guarantee and is a registered charitable organisation that mobilises financial and quality resources for schools in Jamaica.