Clean Power

Published on July 12th, 2013 | by Nicholas Brown


Cuba To Help Jamaica Start Solar Panel Factory

July 12th, 2013 by  

Cuba, which has an operational solar panel factory within its borders, intends to help Jamaica (the country in which I live) construct its own solar panel factory through the knowledge and technology transfer. The aim is to help Jamaica initiate a solar power industry that includes manufacture and assembly of solar PV panels.

Solar Panels on Factory Roof. zstock/Shutterstock

Solar Panels on Factory Roof. zstock/Shutterstock

This effort will be guided by the Rural Electrification Programme Ltd (to be renamed Jamaica Ener­gy Solutions Limited (JESL)). The Rural Electrification program was intended to provide rural homes with electricity.

Currently, 4% of rural homes are waiting to be electrified, and the construction of this photovoltaic solar panel factory may help the country reach this goal.

The extension of electricity grids to rural areas is costly ($8,000 to $10,000 per km, or $800,000 to $1 million JMD per km), more expensive than solar panels, which can power people’s houses without the electricity grid. This means that households three kilometres or more away from the national grid would need $24,000 to $30,000 to extend the grid.

According to the JIS: “This is in keeping with the agency’s new mandate, which is focused on developing renewable energy solutions for those households further than three kilometres from the national grid, and promoting energy efficiency and conservation.”

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About the Author

writes on CleanTechnica, Gas2, Kleef&Co, and Green Building Elements. He has a keen interest in physics-intensive topics such as electricity generation, refrigeration and air conditioning technology, energy storage, and geography. His website is:

  • JamesWimberley

    They’re crazy. Relying on Cuba, a country with no track record in any manufacturing industry, let alone a brutally competitive hi-tech one, is guaranteed to fail. The only effect will be to delay the arrival of cheap solar PV, as Cubasolar will need massive protection to survive.

    The sensible path is shown by Turkey,a country much more advanced economically than Jamaica: start with assembly operations from imported modules, then try to work back up the supply chain and increase the domestic share of value-added.

    • sambar

      Actually Cuba is the perfect country to help, as they can do it without the high tech infrastructure, similar to Jamaica. Also, they are assembling solar panels from what are likely Chinese modules, a relatively easy task.

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