Cuba to aid Jamaica on PV module production

Cuba has agreed to assist Jamaica in its plans to launch a solar module production in the Caribbean country.

Cuba, which has operated a solar module factory for more than a decade and also works closely with Venezuela on solar iniatives, will provide support to build the assembly plant for solar modules in Jamaica.

The Jamaica Information Service (JIS) – the Jamaican government’s news platform – reported the country would partner with Cuba "for the transfer of knowledge and technology to facilitate the local manufacture and assembly of cost effective photovoltaic … panels."

The partnership is part of Jamaica’s move towards incorporating renewable alternatives into the local energy mix in an effort to reduce the country’s huge energy bill, according to JIS.

Jamaican energy minister Phillip Paulwell has called for an increase in the use of renewable energy, saying the country’s renewable energy plan would target the remaining 4% of rural households yet to receive electricity in order to bring electrification island-wide to 100% of its residents.

Paulwell said Jamaica’s Rural Electrification Program, introduced in 1975, had wired more than 80,000 homes in rural communities, bringing the electrification rate in rural households to 96%.

Jamaica is also looking to incorporate renewable energy in housing initiatives for low-income residents.

In line with the country’s strategy to diversify energy sources, Jamaican energy company Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ) last week opened a tender for the installation of 18 rooftop photovoltaic systems, 15 to be built atop schools and three at public sector agencies.

The bidding, which is open to both local as well as overseas contractors, is open until Aug. 14.

Last month another Caribbean nation — St. Kitts and Nevis — entered the photovoltaic production sector after Taiwanese firm Speedtech opened a $1.5 million module assembly factory on the island of St. Kitts.