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.


OUR Respond to XenogyRE on 37 MW Project Selection

May 25, 2016

Mr. Courtney Powell
Founder & Chief in Editor
Renewable Energy Blog

Please see O.U.R.’s responses to your correspondence requesting clarification:

1. On the 27th of January 2016 the OUR reported to have received a total of 17 bids in a media release titled: “OUR GETS 17 RENEWABLE ENERGY BIDS”. However, in the final media release on 9th May 2016 the OUR contradicts this by stating that it had received a total of 19 bits.

ANSWER: There were 10 entities that submitted bids in response to the OUR’s request for proposals (RFP). One of the bidders submitted two base bids. Mention was made in the proposal letter for each of these bids that they were accompanied by a set of alternative bids. While a notation was made on the bid opening form of the number of alternative bids that were as said to have accompanied one of the base bids (i.e. three alternatives), a similar notation was not included for the other (i.e. two alternatives). The specifics of the alternative bids were not announced and recorded as these details were embedded within the proposal documentation of their relative base bids. During the detailed examination of the bid packages by the evaluation team, the details of all alternative bids were located (including the two alternatives which were not noted on the bid opening form), recorded and subjected to evaluation in accordance with the RFP. This accounted for the difference in number of bids mentioned in the first press release, which was issued immediately after the public bid opening, and the subsequent press release which was issued at the end of the bid evaluation process.

2. We also noted from the media release on the 27th January 2016 that Eight RiversEnergy Company Ltd submitted two (2) bids for solar PV (one for a 37MW and an alternative for 21MW). However, we also noted that the 33.1 MW Solar PV project they are selected to provide was not listed as one of the bids received in the media release on the 27th of January 2016.

ANSWER: Although Eight Rivers Energy Company Ltd submitted a bid for a 37MW plant, upon evaluation it was clarified that the plant capacity at the required power factor, was in fact 33.1 MW. It was this project proposal that was ranked highest based on the criteria set out in the RFP.

3. What prevented the OUR from achieving the intended 37 MW of renewable energy capacity, given that over 300 MW of primary project proposals were reportedly received. And why no mention was made of how the OUR plans to achieve the remaining 4.9 MW. This is of concern because it is a large short fall – by comparison this size capacity is greater than the JPS owned wind farm in St. Elizabeth and all but two of the Island’s nine hydro plants.

ANSWER: The proposals received represented complete plants of a particular design configuration. These proposals were evaluated based on the criteria specified in the RFP. The RFP specifically requested capacity “up to” 37 MW, which allowed for the selection of any amount not exceeding 37 MW. Additionally, the RFP could not have reasonably required proposers to make their plants available in various “portions” so as to allow for selection of fragments of capacity (for example a fragment of 4.9 MW) to arrive at exactly 37 MW.

The National Energy Policy includes a schedule for the addition of renewables in Jamaica’s energy mix. As the Government of Jamaica continues its role out of this policy, it is expected that there will be further opportunities for the procurement of additional renewables.


Yvonne Nicholson

Director, Consumer & Public Affairs

Ten Companies go Head to Head to Supply RE in Jamaica

Jamaica is currently leading the English speaking Caribbean in the use of renewable energy (RE) at the commercial level and will probably continue to do so for some time to come. This statement is based in one part on its Continue reading →