Gov’t looking to lessen dependency on JPS with $60-million solar project in schools

To reduce the electricity expenses at government-owned schools across the island, the Ministry of Education will spend $60 million on alternative energy (solar energy from photovoltaic systems) during the 2020/21 fiscal year.

 Funds for this initiative have been allocated in the 2020/21 Estimates of Expenditure, now before the House of Representatives.

Implementation will take place through the Solar Energy Projects and supervised by the National Education Trust Limited.

The objective of the Solar Energy Projects is to provide alternative energy/solar energy from photovoltaic systems to schools, in an effort to lessen the dependence on the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) and reduce current electricity bills between 40 and 70 per cent at schools benefiting from the project.

Under the project, the Government will complete retrofitting, upgrades and structural repairs to the roofs of the targeted schools and seek Cabinet approval to proceed to the transactional stage of the public-private partnership (PPP).

During the 2019/20 fiscal year, the Government conducted an energy audit and structural assessment to roofs; recruited both a project advisor and a transaction advisor; completed a business case and commenced renovation works at several schools that were deemed to need repairs.

The physical target initially envisioned under the programme is to install photovoltaic systems at 30 secondary schools.