LAKE MARY, Florida, May 6, CMC – A global turnkey solar energy provider with offices here, ESA Renewables, has secured a contract to begin building a 24-megawatt solar power park in Western Jamaica this year, the firm announced here.
Jeffery Burkett, president of ESA Renewables, said here that it has executed a letter of intent to design, build, commission, monitor and provide operations and maintenance services for a 100-acre solar power park in Paradise Park, a relatively flat area of rolling pasture land in the parish of Westmoreland on the island’s southwest end.
The company said a consortium of independent American and Caribbean companies called Caribbean Energies Group LLC (CEG) is financing the project, providing the site for the array of solar panels, and materials. ESA said it will use solar photovoltaic cells made by an unnamed original equipment manufacturer, or OEM, in the US.
“This system will produce over 33 million kilowatt-hours annually, which is equivalent to saving over 17 million kilograms of CO2 (carbon dioxide) annually,” Burkett said, adding that construction on the project is slated to begin this year.
ESA said in a statement that it will install a proprietary monitoring system to guarantee power production levels and compensate CEG should the solar cell electricity drop below the guaranteed mark.
“Should the photovoltaic system fail to meet ESA’s annual guaranteed power production levels, ESA will compensate the solar farm owners the difference between guaranteed and actual energy generated,” the statement said.
“Our new Power Production Guarantee Programme enables us to unequivocally assure asset managers we will generate maximum energy from the solar power plant,” Burkett said.
Caribbean Energies Group plans three major clean energy projects in Jamaica, including the solar power plant which will act as electrical distribution centre for Western Jamaica and provide “smart grid” electrical power to the national grid under a power purchasing agreement, according to the CEG website.
The consortium said it also plans to build a waste-to-energy facility to act as a backup for the solar power plant and generate up to 50 megawatts of electricity.
The power plants are to be linked to the national grid through joint public/private sector, digital command and control — or “smart grid” – centre.
With offices in the American state of Washington and the Jamaican capital, Kingston, CEG lists among its partners General Electric subsidiary, GE Energy, makers of OEM solar thin-film photovoltaic panels and ESA Renewables.
CEG also named energy and regulatory oversight bodies in the partnership, including national energy utility Jamaica Public Services Company (JPSCo), the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) and the Caribbean Information Platform on Renewable Energy (CIPORE), which links the region’s renewable energy providers and policy makers.
ESA said it owns and operates a diverse portfolio of more than 500 solar power generating facilities in the United States, Puerto Rico, Spain and Italy.
The company said its scope of services includes financing, engineering, construction, testing, monitoring, and operation and maintenance.
With headquarters in Castellon, Spain, ESA said it has additional offices in Florida, North Carolina, Puerto Rico, Canada, Chile, South Africa, and Italy.
According to the World Bank, Jamaica’s electricity consumption peaked at 6.8 billion kWh in 2008, 96 per cent of which was produced by burning fossil fuels to generate electricity.
But clean energy only accounted for a mere fraction of the country’s energy production – 0.4 per cent – mostly from hydroelectric power.