JIS News

The country could see a reduction of some 20 per cent in the national electricity bill or $40 million annually for street lights, with the installation of energy saving Light Emitting Diode (LED) fixtures across the island, under a pilot project.

This was stated by Minister of Local Government and Community Development,  Hon. Noel Arscott, at a press conference, held at his Hagley Park Road offices on May 3, 2012.

He pointed out that GREENRG, a three-year-old renewable energy solutions provider with offices in New Jersey, in the United States, has been given a ‘work order’ to proceed by the Ministry, under a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which was initially signed by the previous administration.

The pilot project will involve the installation or retrofitting of LED lighting and solar panels to some 5,000 street lights in St. Catherine, Kingston and Clarendon. There are some 93,000 street lights across the country, costing the country some $2.6 billion in energy charges.

The pilot will also include the Ministry’s administrative offices, the St. Mary and Manchester Infirmaries, the Brown’s Town and Coronation Markets and the St. James Parish Council building. “We’re looking at about $30 million in savings from the street lights alone,” he said, adding that the pilot would be of no significant cost to the country.

“We’ll not stop there, as in the next few months we’ll be conducting energy audits on all local authority buildings with a view of accruing similar savings across the municipalities,” the Minister said.

Managing Member at GREENRG, Alfred Heyer, told JIS News that the pilot will have a significant impact on the country as it will be using significantly updated technology.

“It’s cutting edge technology that will be able to, with one piece systems, have LED street lights that will save considerable sums of money.  It’s a proven technology that performs very well and it’s going to be history in the making. The impact it will have is going to be second to none,” he said.

Mr. Heyer explained that the project is being funded through a unique instrument which allows the Government to attract no cost whatsoever, and provides a ‘win win’ for the country, as it could open the doors for overseas investors.

He noted that the timing for this pilot project is perfect, as two years ago it would not have worked for a lot of reasons.

“Now we have more reliable sources. We used to get chips from one source, now we have six. We used to buy components in one or two places, now there are dozens of them, and you’re getting better products because of the competition,”  Mr. Heyer said.


By Rodger Hutchinson, JIS Reporter