JIS News

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  • The National Indoor Sports Centre is soon to be outfitted with solar panels to generate 100 megawatts of energy, as part of a $20 million pilot project under the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining.
  • This project is expected to significantly reduce the facility’s dependence on the national electricity grid, thereby cutting its usually high cost of energy.
  • Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon. Phillip Paulwell, said that when fully operational, the Indoor Sports Centre utilises some 500 megawatts of electricity.

The National Indoor Sports Centre is soon to be outfitted with solar panels to generate 100 megawatts of energy, as part of a $20 million pilot project under the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining.

This project is expected to significantly reduce the facility’s dependence on the national electricity grid, thereby cutting its usually high cost of energy.

Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon. Phillip Paulwell, said that when fully operational, the Indoor Sports Centre utilises some 500 megawatts of electricity. He noted that the facility is to be licensed to allow it to sell the surplus energy generated, back to the national grid.

“So, the Sports Centre will be generating revenues and from that you will be able to pay whatever bills you incur from JPSCo [the Jamaica Public Service Company]. Aim to make sure that your net is zero,” he advised.

Speaking at a ceremony at the facility on July 29, to launch the National Energy Solutions Limited (NESOL), Mr. Paulwell said the Ministry is committed to providing additional support if the pilot project is not successful in bringing net costs down to zero.

“We feel confident that the 100 KWH that you generate from this facility will enable you to earn enough revenue to offset what you will need to pay JPSCo,” he said.

The National Indoor Sports Centre, located adjacent to the National Stadium, was built in 2003 to stage the World Netball Championships.

Some sporting associations, including Netball Jamaica and the Jamaica Basketball Association, have over the years complained about the high rental cost of the facility.

Minister with responsibility for Sport, Hon. Natalie Neita-Headley, who has been calling for the solarisation of the centre for some time, said the project is a very timely and welcome one. She pointed out that with the facility fully solar-powered, it will result in major reductions in rental costs, allowing promoters of sporting, entertainment and business events to utilise the venue.

“The commitment to providing access to well-equipped, appropriate and safe indoor and outdoor sporting facilities, which are compliant with international standards and adoptive of best practices for sustainable development, is borne out in the National Sport Policy.  Therefore, this solarisation project at the Indoor Sport Centre is another deliverable in the Government’s implementation of the National Sport Policy,” she said.The project will be done through the newly formed public company, NESOL, which was created through the rebranding of the Rural Electrification Programme (REP) and given an expanded mandate. It has responsibility for creating new energy solutions to expand the reach of electricity supply to rural areas, and to minimise unauthorized connections to the national grid in urban areas, through the build-out of renewable energy at the domestic level.

As part of its mandate, NESOL will be mounting technology research development and demonstration programmes with strategic partners. It will also be aggressively promoting the deployment of renewable energy technologies into the commercial institutions and the society at large, as well as being involved in mobilizing grant funding for the design and development of renewable energy projects.