JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The Government remains committed to the promotion of renewable energy in all sectors of the society.
  • This includes the removal of taxes from the purchasing of equipment for renewable energy.
  • Minister Paulwell said the Government is on a drive to facilitate the use of clean energy in the private and public sectors.

The Government remains committed to the promotion of renewable energy in all sectors of the society, implementing a number of initiatives and incentives through the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining.

These include the removal of taxes from the purchasing of equipment for renewable energy; and a loan facility through the Development Bank of Jamaica, (DBJ) for this purpose.

Speaking with JIS News at a ceremony to commission into service a 1600 kilowatt solar energy generating plant at the Grand Palladium Hotel in Hanover on May 31, Portfolio Minister, Hon. Phillip Paulwell said the Government is on a drive to facilitate the use of clean energy in the private and public sectors.

The 1,056 room Spanish-owned Grand Palladium Hotel installed what is said to be the largest solar energy generating facility in the island’s tourism sector. The system is valued at US$3.5 million.

Lauding the hotel for seizing the opportunity to install the plant, Minister Paulwell said: “we are fully aware of the Grand Palladium’s energy saving programme. This installation shows commitment to Jamaica and the hotel industry. We hope that very soon the entire operation will be solar powered”.

Encouraging other members of the private sector, particularly the hospitality industry, to go solar, the Energy Minister said the government has formed a partnership with the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA) to foster that move.

“At the moment we are focusing on 10 small hotels across the island and over time we will get all the players on board,” he noted.

Minister Paulwell pointed out that one of the benefits of using renewables is the tremendous savings in foreign exchange. Jamaica spends in excess of US$2 billion annually on the importation of fossil fuel.

“Members of the hotel and other business entities are aware that every time a solar system is installed, we are moving to reduce the expenditure of foreign exchange and the amount of carbon emission that comes with the burning of fossil fuel,” he said.

He also highlighted the significance of businesses and individuals earning carbon credits, through the use of renewable energy.

Minister Paulwell stated that the Government is “very clear about the use of solar energy”, which forms a critical part of its energy policy.

The move towards solar energy is aimed at producing 30 per cent of the country’s energy demand.

“The potential for solar installations to pay back on the investment and become a profitable sector is enormous,” Minister Paulwell said.

He noted also, the introduction of a net billing policy, which enables companies and individuals that produce more energy than they use, to sell the excess to the national grid, thereby earning from their investment.

The Energy Minister stressed that the push towards renewables would not affect the operations of the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS), pointing out that there is a built in 30 per cent contribution from renewable energy to the national grid. He said this will enable the light and power company to reduce its losses as the connections will take place at various points.