USAID and JERA boost solar PV adoption in Jamaican businesses Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

The Jamaica Energy Resilience Alliance (JERA) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) culminated their 3.5-year collaboration to strengthen Jamaica’s energy sector resilience with an insightful business forum at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston.

The event, titled “Solar PV for Jamaican Business: The Next Wave,” explored the compelling business case for solar photovoltaic (PV) adoption in high-potential sectors in Jamaica, and the acquisition process for solar PV and PV with storage (PV+) solutions for enterprises across Jamaica.

The forum brought together 100 business leaders and stakeholders from various sectors and presented the unique opportunity to gain insight into the PV/PV+ business case, acquisition processes, and the robust support ecosystem available, including independent energy advisory services, financing options, and a network of qualified, reputable installers.

Over the past three and a half years, USAID and JERA have implemented the Strengthening Energy Sector Resilience in Jamaica programme (SESR-Jamaica).

This initiative has supported 24 Jamaican businesses in acquiring PV/PV+ systems, amounting to a significant 2.4MW in clean energy capacity and over US4 5.4 million in private sector investment.

Notably, the project has diversified its support beyond the manufacturing and tourism sectors, extending assistance to businesses in the medical, housing, and agricultural sectors.

Christina Becker-Birck, Vice President, Cadmus (JERA lead), expressed: “It has been my honour to oversee our extensive work in Jamaica to create an enabling environment for investment in renewable, resilient energy. I am particularly proud of the Strengthening Energy Sector Resilience in Jamaica (SESR-Jamaica) programme which, after 3 years, has done tremendous work on the island.”

An audience member engages in the Q&A session during the “Solar PV for Jamaican Business: The Next Wave” forum at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel.

Nick Chen, Business Development Manager & Director, Jamaica Macaroni Factory Limited said: “A few years ago, we recognised that our JPS bill was very high. The cost of energy in Jamaica is much higher compared to other competing countries and manufacturers in the Caribbean. We figured that an alternative energy source would be correct based on our capacity. We opted for solar technology and contacted JERA to assist us with our acquisition process. Since installation, we’ve had a 20 per cent reduction in our JPS bill. This has been a major help for us in our cost savings and our ability to become more competitive, especially in our export market where our main brand, Marco Polo, is sold the most. Additionally, we’ve seen a 50 per cent reduction in power drawn from JPS during daytime peak periods.”

Based on its experience providing 1:1 technical assistance to over 100 Jamaican businesses, JERA is confident that a new wave of solar PV adoption will result from the compelling business case for PV/PV+ across multiple business sectors.

For example, in agriculture, high daytime loads due to water pumping for irrigation and cold storage of produce make solar PV a cost-effective solution, with agrivoltaics offering additional benefits such as shade and temperature control for certain crops.

For the business process outsourcing and medical facilities, high air conditioning loads during the day can account for up to 70 per cent of the electricity bill. Installing PV panels can significantly reduce these costs by increasing roofing insulation and lowering A/C loads, as up to 50 per cent of the heat in a space can come from an uninsulated roof. Any facility where most consumption occurs between 8 am and 5 pm stands to benefit greatly.

Entities in the hotel and tourism sectors, such as restaurants and accommodation, which have high night-time loads and lower daytime consumption, can also find solar PV feasible, particularly when combined with storage solutions. Overall, all businesses with suitable space for installing solar PV arrays can benefit.

Pamela Foster, Director, Office of Environment and Health, USAID said: “Jamaica faces numerous climate change risks and high energy costs. Clean energy technologies like solar and battery storage can help mitigate these impacts, enhance energy resilience, and improve business profitability.

The US Government is committed to supporting Jamaica and the Caribbean in adopting solar PV technology, with local businesses poised to lead the next wave of adoption, strengthening Jamaica’s energy sector resilience. The business case for PV and PV+ for Jamaican businesses is robust and consistent. We see the high potential for a ‘next wave’ of PV/PV+ adoption by Jamaican businesses in and beyond the hotel and manufacturing sectors.”