The Government is projected to save an estimated $54 million annually from the installation of solar energy and energy efficiency systems at six public health facilities across the island.
These are National Chest Hospital, Sir John Golding Rehabilitation Centre and Bellevue Hospital in St. Andrew; Black River Hospital, St. Elizabeth; May Pen Hospital, Clarendon; and the Savanna-la-Mar Public General Hospital in Westmoreland.
The installation was done under the Deployment of Renewable Energy and Improvement of Energy Efficiency in the Public Sector project, which was officially handed over to the Government of Jamaica on Thursday (June 24).
The project was implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Multi-Country Office in Jamaica over five years, starting in 2016, through a US$1,254,687 grant from the Global Environment Facility (GEF).
It sought to advance a low-carbon development path and reduce Jamaica’s public-sector energy bill through the introduction of renewable energy and improvement in energy efficiency in the health sector.
The activities were executed in collaboration with key stakeholders, including the Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology, Ministry of Health and Wellness and the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ).
Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Hon. Daryl Vaz, in his address at the closing out and handover ceremony held at the Sir John Golding Rehabilitation Centre, commended the UNDP and the entities involved in bringing the project to a successful conclusion.
“The UNDP has been a friend to Jamaica and a reliable partner in our development efforts in areas of energy and the environment, governance, human capacity development and poverty eradication,” he noted.
He said that through this project, some 32 personnel from the health sector were trained in energy management, solar photovoltaics (PV) operation and maintenance.
Additionally, more than 5,000 light-emitting diode (LED) lighting solutions were installed at the six health facilities and a grid-tied solar PV system was installed at the Sir John Golding Rehabilitation Centre and the May Pen and National Chest hospitals.
“It is estimated that these interventions will reduce the energy-consumption bill in the public health sector by 22 per cent annually,” Minister Vaz noted.
For her part, Resident Representative, UNDP Jamaica, Denise Antonio, said that the organisation was pleased to officially hand over the project to the Government of Jamaica.
She noted that through the mix of renewable energy and energy-efficiency systems installed at the six public health facilities “it is projected that the Government will realise estimated savings of $54 million annually”.
She commended the Government of Jamaica for the successful implementation and outstanding results attained that have advanced the goal of diversifying the energy mix, increasing the penetration of renewables and promoting energy efficiency.
“Jamaica has significant renewable energy potential as reflected in the increased target of 50 per cent renewables in the National Energy Policy 2009-2030. These achievements must be expanded, so that sustainable universal access can be delivered to and for the benefit of all Jamaicans,” Ms. Antonio said.
Ms. Antonio pledged that the UNDP will continue to partner and collaborate with Jamaica, so that “no one is left behind; every Jamaican can achieve his or her fullest potential; every household can afford clean energy services; every community and public space can be adequately lighted; every business can access clean and affordable energy to be competitive; economic growth is not hampered by high energy costs; transportation is world class, fuelled by clean energy; and sustainable energy will illuminate a low carbon path for “Jamaica to be the place of choice to live, work, raise families and do business”.