US Signs US$47 Million Financing Agreement for Solar Energy Project in Jamaica
The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), on June 25 signed a US$47 million financing agreement with WRB Enterprises for development of a 20 megawatt solar plant in York Town, Clarendon.
The US $60 million Content Solar Limited (CSL), being built by WRB Enterprises, will supply power to the national grid.
It will be the first utility scale photovoltaic power plant in Jamaica, and will assist the country in achieving its target of increasing renewable power generation from about seven percent to 15 per cent by 2020. The development will make Jamaica the site of the largest solar energy facility in the Caribbean,
Speaking at the signing ceremony held at the Office of the Prime Minister, Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon. Phillip Paulwell, welcomed the project.
“It is of strategic national importance to Jamaica, and is one of three successfully selected proposals from 24 other projects, which competed to provide a total of 115 megawatts of renewable energy to the Jamaican power grid,” the Minister said.
He said that the investment is adding momentum to the Government’s move to diversity the country’s energy landscape and encourage clean energy.
Minister Paulwell said he is resolved to expand the energy mix, because too much is being spent on the importation of expensive fuels, while Jamaica has an abundance of renewable resources, such as rivers and streams with hydro-electric potential, as well as intense sunlight all year round.
He informed that last year $US 2 billion was spent to import oil into the country. “We do not intend to remain forever, hostage to the vagaries of imported fossil fuel,” the Minister stressed.
Chief of Staff for OPIC, John Morton, commended the Government’s move to increase investments in renewable energy.
He noted that solar power investments is the future of energy generation and “you are moving faster than most others, proving that it can be done cost effectively.”
CSL is the second such project in Jamaica, to be financed by OPIC, under the United States Government’s Caribbean Energy Security Initiative, launched by Vice President Joe Biden in June of last year.
Mr. Morton informed that within another six month, he will be back in the island to sign a similar finance agreement.
OPIC is the US Government’s development finance institution.