Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness today revealed his ambitions for the country to reach 50% renewable energy by 2030, up from the official policy of 30%. The aspiration was announced during the commissioning of his government office’s state-of-the-art solar PV array, a partnership with Solar Head of State, a nonprofit seeking to help world leaders become green leaders by installing solar panels on government buildings.
“I believe that we can do better. Jamaica has sunshine all year round and strong winds in certain parts of the island,” said Prime Minister Holness. “I have directed the government to increase our target from 30% to 50%, and our energy company is totally in agreement. So I believe that by 2030, Jamaica will be producing more than 50% of its electricity from renewables.”
Prime Minister Holness heralded the new solar installation on the Office of the Prime Minister as emblematic of the clean energy technologies that must be deployed by Caribbean islands to decarbonize economies, reduce regional fossil fuel use, and combat climate change.
Following similar installations by the President of the Maldives and Governor-General of Saint Lucia, Jamaica’s prominent adoption of solar sets an example for other nations around the world that renewable energy can make a global impact.
Despite emitting less than 1% of greenhouse gases, Jamaica and other Caribbean Islands are taking bold strides to reach ambitious renewable energy goals: The top ten contributing countries to global greenhouse gas emissions contribute 72% of those gases, while the bottom 100 contributing countries emit less than 3%. The consequences of these emissions, however, fall on many of the least significant contributors, in the form of climate change. Leaders of impacted nations like Jamaica see a moral imperative to demonstrate leadership on renewable energy. Last week’s IPCC report emphasised the danger posed to island nations by climate change.
“Due to climate change, small island developing states (SIDS) need to leverage renewable resources such as solar,” said Solar Head of State Director James Ellsmoor. “We are focused on installing highly visible solar arrays on public buildings to draw greater attention to renewables. Jamaica’s commitment to ushering in a new era of renewable energy is laudable.”
Due to a historic lack of diversification of energy resources, Jamaica has been heavily reliant on imported fossils fuels, resulting in CO2 emissions and high electricity prices up to four times higher than the United States. Caribbean nations are also vulnerable to hurricanes and extreme weather; renewable energy increases islands’ resilience – stabilizing electricity supply in the wake of natural disasters.
The Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI) – an initiative of the Clinton Foundation – has been honored to help advance clean energy projects in Jamaica,. Jesse Gerstin, Director of CCI, expressed support for this latest project, explaining “Investing in renewables can save money and create jobs, and although islands are on the frontlines of our changing climate, they also can be vanguards of solutions for our planet. Through this project, the Government of Jamaica is once again showing us how renewable energy can promote economic development and resiliency, and address climate change.”
The project relies on a partnership with Solaria Corporation, a global provider of solar module technologies. The new aesthetic PV array is a 15kW solar electric system comprised of Solaria PowerXT solar modules and Enphase Energy (NASDAQ:ENPH) microinverters. It is being deployed as Jamaica joins with other Caribbean nations in accelerating efforts to combat climate change.
The partnership had additional support from Solar Island Energy, a Missouri-based installation and engineering company, and Envisage Energy, a Jamaican solar installer. The project received additional support from Island Innovation, Elms Consulting, National Energy Solutions Limited and the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica.
“Solaria is very proud to be helping Jamaica transition to clean energy with this new state-of-the-art PowerXT solar array,” said Solaria CEO Suvi Sharma. Solaria PowerXT modules ensure tremendous savings and efficiencies – in system design, field labor, installation time and costs.
Solar Head of State is assisting with PV deployment in Jamaica and other vulnerable nations around the world as they confront climate change, extreme weather events and sea level rise. Jamaica joins with other SIDS in embracing ambitious renewable energy projects.