Discussions Ongoing for Solar Assembly Plant in Jamaica

Story Highlights

  • The Government is currently in discussions with Cuban and Chinese interests, about the possible establishment of a solar assembly plant in Jamaica.
  • Science, Technology, Energy and Mining Minister, Hon. Phillip Paulwell, says the initiative is being pursued with a view to supplying solar Photovoltaic (PV) systems to fulfil growing domestic demand, and tapping into overseas markets.
  • The Minister was speaking with JIS News, following a recent tour of the Wigton Wind Farm, at Rose Hill, Manchester, where he was given an update on the phase three expansion works currently underway.

The Government is currently in discussions with Cuban and Chinese interests, about the possible establishment of a solar assembly plant in Jamaica.

Science, Technology, Energy and Mining Minister, Hon. Phillip Paulwell, says the initiative is being pursued with a view to supplying solar Photovoltaic (PV) systems to fulfil growing domestic demand, and tapping into overseas markets.

The Minister was speaking with JIS News, following a recent tour of the Wigton Wind Farm, at Rose Hill, Manchester, where he was given an update on the phase three expansion works currently underway.

Noting the “tremendous appetite” growing locally for renewable energy inputs, Mr. Paulwell said “we are really seeing an explosion in the use of solar systems across Jamaica.”

“When you fly over Jamaica and you observe the roofs, you will see that there are many (solar) panels, much more than a number of years ago, generating electricity for businesses and also residences,” he pointed out.

The Minister  said  that Jamaica is standing “head and shoulders” above its CARICOM counterparts, “in terms of our use of solar PV systems,” and with the country’s  access to the North American market, particularly the United States, via the Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI),  the plant’s establishment is being pursued to provide panels for both markets.

“I think it’s a doable project, especially within the framework of our Special Economic Zones (SEZs) that we are moving to establish, in which there is interest already,” he added.

Meanwhile, Mr. Paulwell advised that the phase three expansion of the Wigton Wind Farm, being undertaken by Spanish firm, Gamesa, at a cost of US$45 million, is slated for completion by year-end, seven months ahead of the original timeline.

Project Manager of Wigton Wind Farm Limited, Michelle Chin Lenn, indicated that the 12 wind turbines earmarked to generate 24 additional megawatts of energy have been procured for installation. This phase of the expansion will bring Wigton’s total capacity to 62.7 megawatts.

Established in 2004, Wigton Wind Farm Limited is a subsidiary of the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ).

The entity, which is Jamaica’s first commercial wind facility, is located on 400 hectares of land at Rose Hill, Manchester.

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