Science, Energy and Technology Minister, Hon. Fayval Williams, has announced that the 50-Megawatt solar plant, Paradise Park, in Westmoreland, is to be officially commissioned shortly.
Speaking at the Engineers’ Week 2019 Conference, hosted by the Jamaica Institution of Engineers (JIE) on Tuesday (September 17), at the Knutsford Court Hotel, in Kingston, the Minister said with the addition of this new plant, Jamaica will be generating 17 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources (wind, solar and hydro).”
Paradise Park is the largest photovoltaic power plant and the cheapest producer of energy in the island. The solar park is a revenue generating facility. It is selling its power to the Jamaica Public Service (JPS) and is currently producing 37 Megawatts for the power company. The park will be selling power to JPS for the next 20 years.
The plant, which is owned and operated by Eight Rivers Energy Company, will provide a yearly output of 82,000 Megawatt hours. The facility represents a total investment of US$64 million.
The company secured limited project finance amounting to approximately US$50 million from the French development bank, PROPARCO and the Dutch development bank, FMO, in June 2018.
Construction of the solar park started in September 2018 and operations began in June 2019.
The Minister pointed out that Jamaica’s energy landscape has changed significantly over the years, with renewables and natural gas playing a greater role in the country’s energy diversification efforts.
“At the Ministry, we are intricately involved in the development of our Integrated Resources Plan (IRP), a decision support tool for meeting Jamaica’s electricity needs over the next 20 years,” she said.
“The IRP addresses the planning needs of the electricity sector, considers the amount of electricity that will be required, the placement of the generation plants, the cost to Jamaicans, among other things,” the Minister added.