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.
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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