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  • Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Hon. Fayval Williams, says she is heartened by the level of investor interest in Jamaica expressed by participants in the 2019 Solar Power International (SPI) conference.
  • “It tells us that more people know about Jamaica than we think they know. Jamaica has gone a far way. When people look at us there is much to be excited about. We are an open economy, we are a strong democracy, we are a friendly business environment, there is significant business and consumer confidence in the economy right now, and all of that enures to the benefit of all of us in Jamaica,” the Minister said.
  • Mrs. Williams was addressing journalists at the conference on September 23, accompanied by Ambassador Tapia.

Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Hon. Fayval Williams, says she is heartened by the level of investor interest in Jamaica expressed by participants in the 2019 Solar Power International (SPI) conference.

“It tells us that more people know about Jamaica than we think they know. Jamaica has gone a far way. When people look at us there is much to be excited about. We are an open economy, we are a strong democracy, we are a friendly business environment, there is significant business and consumer confidence in the economy right now, and all of that enures to the benefit of all of us in Jamaica,” the Minister said.

Mrs. Williams was addressing journalists at the conference on September 23, accompanied by Ambassador Tapia.

The conference, being held in Salt Lake City, Utah, in the United States (US), from September 23 to 26, is the largest solar show in North America, with representatives from more than 700 organisations in the energy sector sharing the latest ideas and developments in the industry.

Mrs. Williams and a delegation of public and private energy sector stakeholders were specially invited to attend the conference by new US Ambassador to Jamaica, His Excellency Donald Tapia.

The Minister said she has been paying keen interest to solutions that can help the country tackle the issue of electricity theft, noting that approximately 17 per cent of the electricity generated in Jamaica is lost to illegal abstraction.

“I’ve seen and spoken with entities that are looking at micro solutions, solar home kits that would serve the needs of persons, maybe in our urban and rural areas, for whom this would be a solution. So, this is something that we’re going to look at seriously. We think that this would reduce the level of electricity theft we’re experiencing in the country,” she said.

The Minister also moved to calm fears that the increase in partnerships with US companies in the energy sector will displace local entrepreneurs.

“What I see is that it will enlarge the economy. I see a lot of partnerships between companies in Jamaica and companies in the US that can help to grow the business. I think Jamaican companies are looking for growth, not just within Jamaica but outside of Jamaica, to the extent that if they have strong partners in the US they can grow more,” she said.

For his part, Ambassador Tapia commended the Government for the range of economic reforms over the past few years, which has made the country attractive to US investors.

“Jamaica is actually the star in the Caribbean, and has been the star in the Caribbean for the last three to five years, because they are forward-thinking. And, I think that’s one of the things that is going to increase the investment of American companies within Jamaica and other companies coming to Jamaica to put in plants and factories,” he said.

In the meantime, several companies have expressed interest in partnerships to expand their operations in Jamaica; among them, solar equipment sales and distribution company, Kinect Solar.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Founder, Lauren Carson, said she expects to be in the country in the next 30 days.

“We’ll meet with companies and we’ll ship a container or two, then we have something there and we’ll sell to the companies we meet with. We’ve had a lot of success with that in other countries like Belize, Dominican Republic, Mexico, and we want to do more countries,” she said.

CEO and Founder of CHAAC Technologies, Jake Hammock, has an innovative solution to address both power and water shortages on the island.

“We’re building an airship that will be tethered to the ground and condensing water vapour out of the atmosphere at such a rate that we can send the water down to a controlled water tubing that will generate hydro-kinetic pressure into a hydro-kinetic turbine to produce a hybrid of both water and power,” he said.

His solution can generate between 5,000 and 50,000 gallons of water per day and five megawatt hours of energy. It is also portable and can be set up in two 40-foot containers.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Williams said the Government is currently refining the regulatory framework to ensure an enabling environment to accommodate the investments expected to be generated from the conference.