Jamaica could develop solar technology for export, says PM

Prime Minister Andrew Holness
Prime Minister Andrew Holness

Prime Minister Andrew Holness says Jamaica has been aligning itself with the right contacts and expertise, where it could, one day, develop its own locally generated solar technology for export.

Holness, who was giving the keynote address at the inauguration of Paradise Park Solar Farm in Savanna-la-Mar, Westmoreland, on October 2, said “projects like these”, where some of the world’s best known renewable energy producers are shareholders, “give me the confidence” that Jamaica too could be heading for the big times.

“The Eight Rivers Energy Company (EREC) is the type of joint venture arrangement that we want to see more of in Jamaica,” the Prime Minister noted, referring to the company that was created for the sole purpose of owning and managing Paradise Park Solar Farm.

tour of Paradise Park Solar Farm in Savanna-la-Mar, Westmoreland, on October 2
Prime Minister Andrew Holness (second left) listens keenly to a point being made by Jamaica Public Service (JPS) Company President, Emanuel DaRosa (left), while on a tour of Paradise Park Solar Farm in Savanna-la-Mar, Westmoreland, on October 2. Also on the tour (from third left) are Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Fayval Williams; and Deputy Director-General of the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR), Cheryl Lewis.

“Neoen, which owns just over 50 per cent of Eight Rivers, is a major global player in the renewable energy industry. It is also a high-growth company with a presence in France, Australia, Mexico, El Salvador, Argentina, Finland, Ireland, Zambia, Portugal, and now Jamaica. In particular, Neoen operates Europe’s most powerful solar farm in Cestas, France, and the world’s largest lithium-ion power reserve in Hornsdale, Australia,” he added.

Holness said that the involvement of a world-class solar-energy company like Neoen in a project in Jamaica is also significant from the standpoint that it speaks to the “demonstrated experience and resources” that are available to EREC in operating and expanding its solar presence in Jamaica.