MONTEGO BAY — A Photovoltaic electric power generating system (Solar) was officially commissioned at the Hounslow Research and Demonstration Plot, in St. Elizabeth, on November 11, by Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Robert Montague.
The Minister pointed out that the system, which belongs to the National Irrigation Commission (NIC), is a stand-alone solar system which has the capacity to provide all the electricity needs of the Research facility, independent of the Jamaica Public Service (JPS) supply.
He explained that the electricity generating aspect of the project was implemented because of the high energy cost that the NIC has to bear to run its operations.
"The NIC has an annual light bill of $182 million, and therefore the mandate and charge to the NIC is to examine other areas of their operations that we can convert to renewable energy,” the Minister said.
Emphasising that he is a firm believer in alternative and renewable sources of energy, Mr. Montague noted that in some areas where there are NIC pumps; there is a high wind factor present. He said that wind energy can be utilised to run some of the pumps, and so serious consideration must be given by the NIC personnel to examine where this can be done or where solar energy can be utilised, to reduce the cost of operations of the Commission.
The Minister urged farmers in the area to try and learn as much as they can at the research facility, and be willing to share the knowledge with other farmers.
By Bryan Miller, JIS Reporter