Jamaica’s oil corporation PCJ expands renewable energy business

Jamaica’s state-owned oil company Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ) intends to invest in the wind and solar power business in order to diversify its offering.

The bigger move will be made by the company into the wind sector, as it received a grant from the U.S. Trade and Development Agency to conduct a feasibility study to evaluate the viability of installing a 30 MW wind farm that, according to the agency, would represent one of the first offshore wind installations in Jamaica and the greater Caribbean region.

As for the solar business, the company is currently seeking developers for a rooftop PV project it is implementing for the government-run Development Bank of Jamaica. In the tender it issued for the project this week, the company said it will accept bids until Oct. 27, 2017.

Furthermore, the PCJ is also developing six efficiency and renewable energy projects relying on PV at six public hospitals to reduce electricity costs under the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Deployment of Renewable Energy and Improvement of Energy Efficiency in the Public Sector Project.

In November, the PCJ unveiled a new mascot, ‘Solar Man’, in an effort to persuade more Jamaicans to shift to solar power. “Studies have shown that if you can influence the youth and you want behavioural change, then you target the youth. We have targeted the adult mind for years and we haven’t had that much behavioural change,” said at the time PCJ Group managing director Ruth Potopsingh.

Daryl Vaz, Jamaica’s Minister of Economic Growth and Job Creation, announced in April that the government is targeting more than JM$ 38 billion ($300 million) in investments from additional renewable energy projects.

Jamaica has so far seen limited development of solar energy, although a few large-scale PV projects were completed or are in the process of being implemented, and the government has recently improved net metering for PV installations up to 100 kW.