JIS News

More than 70 local and overseas companies are showing off the latest and best in emerging energy efficiency products and technologies, at the Jamaica Alternative Energy Expo in Kingston.

Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon. Phillip Paulwell, officially declared the two-day event open on Monday, April 15, at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel.

Minister Paulwell offered the Government’s full endorsement of the event, noting that it is focusing on enabling Jamaicans to have information on various alternative energy systems, particularly solar.

“The Government is very pleased, because in relation to solar, we have removed taxation on all aspects, whether it is on import duties or General Consumption Tax (GCT),” Minister Paulwell told JIS News.

“We have been articulating a vision for the country to incorporate more and more solar usage especially at the residential level. I myself have been able to benefit tremendously from it. I also see it as a business opportunity to enable growth and job creation and it should really be one that small businesses in Jamaica could move towards as we look to more opportunities in the Jamaican economy,” he continued.

Producer of the event, Peter Shoucair, said the objective is to educate and sensitise the public about energy efficiency and conservation in residential, commercial and institutional settings.

“I think it is good for Jamaicans to come out learn how they can reduce their energy usage, see the options, the players in the market, who to speak to, all in one location. This is why I decided to do it,” he stated.

Mr. Shoucair, who is also Managing Director of Green Energy Savings Ltd. noted that while there have been a lot of green expos in Jamaica, his aim was to get all the industry players together in one setting.

“It is the right time now. It is almost US$.43 per kilowatt hour (for electricity). The Jamaica Public Service (JPS) is trying, the Minister is trying. So it is a good time,” he stated.

Among those attending Monday’s opening were students from Greater Portmore Primary School in St. Catherine, accompanied by grade six teacher, Faith Powell, who explained that they are at the event on an information gathering mission.

“We have a project. We have a reading zoo that we are developing. The Grade 6 has been doing a survey and it has helped them to decide what is needed for the reading zoo. Now, they are looking at producing a waterfall for the ducks and using alternative energy as a means to do that,” she informed.

She explained that the students will be developing their own portfolios on alternative energy. In the end, they will host their own expo to educate the school population and to raise funds for their project.

In addition to the exhibits, there will be several seminars with experts in the business. Topics for discussion today include: ‘Terms and equipment/how Jamaica will have leadership role in the Caribbean’; ‘JPS initiatives to empower customers to take charge of their energy consumption’; ‘10 things to watch when purchasing a solar system for your home or business’; ‘Challenges the country faces with the rising cost of energy and options available to mitigate against these threats’.

On Tuesday, April 16, discussions will focus on: ‘Solar systems PV 101’ and ‘Solar Economics’; ‘Mega and micro hybrid solar projects’; Solar technologies made simple’; Innovative ways to significantly reduce energy consumption; ‘Research development and innovation in sustainable energy in the CARICOM region’, among others.

By Andrea Braham, JIS Reporter