Jamaica’s First Utility-Scale Solar PV Farm

In 2013, WBR Enterprises Inc. was selected by the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) via a competitive bidding process to develop a 20 Megawatts (MW) solar farm – the island’s utility-scale solar project. The project was the third lowest bid received, in response to the OUR’s request to supply 115 MW of renewable generation, with a proposed price of US$0.1880 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) to deliver renewable energy to the national grid.

dsc_0960-300x1241 On September 18, 2014, WBR subsidiary, Content Solar Ltd., signed a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) to sell the full output of its solar farm to the grid.

The 154 acres solar farm, coined Solar Content, subsequently broke ground in Content Village, York Town, Clarendon on July 9, 2015. The $63 million (US) project was financed in part by a $47 million debt agreement with the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and the U.S. Government’s Development Finance Institution for the development. Sponsor equity was provided by WRB Serra, a strategic partner of WRB Enterprises and WRB Energy focused on sustainable infrastructure investments in the Caribbean and Latin America.  The Content Solar plant is the second OPIC-financed project in support of the U.S. Caribbean Energy Security Initiative.image0031

It is worthy of noting here that, the Content Solar plant is the second OPIC-financed project in support of the U.S. Caribbean Energy Security Initiative. The first being the blue mountain renewable (BMR) 36MW Wind Farm also located in Jamaica.

And in a historic move on August 28, 2016, the Content Solar farm was launched into commercial operations as Jamaica’s first utility-scale solar PV plant.  The plant which boasts 97,000 solar panels will power more than 20,000 households over the next 20 years under the PPA with JPS.

According to the Jamaica’s National Energy Policy 2009-2030, the country is looking to significantly increase investments in renewable energy technologies. The country has targeted at least 20% contribution towards the energy mix from renewable energy sources by 2030. The content solar farm pushes Jamaica’s installed renewable capacity to approximately 152 MW or 14.8%.

Jamaica second utility-scale solar project, the Eight Rivers 33 MW solar farm, is currently ongoing and is estimated to be put into commercial operation by the end of 2018. The commissioning of Eight Rivers project will see jamaica’s renewable energy mix at 17.5%. The planned 190 MW LNG power plant in Old Harbour Bay, St Catherine, which is expected to be completed in early 2019, will change this mix.

These are certainly exciting times in Jamaica’s electricity market environment as they seek to lower the cost of electric energy in a bid to improve the country’s socio-economic conditions.

WattsOn: Electricity prices in Jamaica plummet below US20 cents per kwh

For the first time in 10 years, Jamaicans are paying less than US 20 cents per kWh for electricity. This, as the fuel charge on electricity bills decreases again this month, resulting in an average 7% reduction in April bills, compared Continue reading →

WattsOn: Net-billing Resumes in Jamaica

As of today (April 11, 2016) renewable energy enthusiasts in Jamaica will again be able to apply for licences to sell their excess electricity to the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS). Dr Andrew Wheatley, the new Minister Continue reading →

Jamaica’s Policy for the Addition of Renewable Capacity to Electricity Grid

The addition of new generating capacity to Jamaica’s electricity grid can be achieved in three ways:

1. the installation of conventional power plants Continue reading →

What is the Fuel and IPP charge on your JPS Bill?

The Fuel & IPP Charge on your bill combines two factors: 1) The cost of fuel used to generate electricity and 2) The cost of the electricity supplied by Independent Power Producers (IPPs). The fuel cost is by far the greatest Continue reading →

Average Electricity Cost in Jamaica is Down to Five-Year Low

The average cost of the electricity in Jamaica is currently at a five year low of US 25 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh), according to the privately owned electricity company (Jamaica Public Service). JPS says the dramatic Continue reading →

JPS rates 2009-2013

JPS proposes massive residential rate increase!

As some of you may already know, JPS has made an application to the OUR for an increase in its non-fuel tariff rates. This was done in accordance with their exclusive all-island electricity licence, which stipulates Continue reading →

Is RE high on JPS’s agenda?

JPS posted on Linkedin that they are “the #1 investor in renewable energy in Jamaica.” Is there any truth to this? No there isn’t! See my comment and their follow-up comment below. The Petroleum Corporation Continue reading →

JPS 2k13 Tariff Adjustment – impact analysis part 2

In this post, the sequel to JPS 2k13 Tariff Adjustment – impact analysis part 1, I will make good on my promise to provide detail impact analyses of the proposed 10.35% increase of JPS‘s non-fuel rates across the different Continue reading →