Neoen begins work on 51 MW PV project in Jamaica

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French independent power producer Neoen has closed financing for Jamaica’s largest solar project, the 51 MW Paradise Park, to become the largest shareholder, with minority stakes held by MPC Capital AG – through its MPC Caribbean Clean Energy Fund – and Rekamniar Frontier Ventures.

The Paradise Park project was awarded a USD64 million loan by two development banks, France’s Proparco and the Netherlands’ FMO.

Neoen and its partners won the project in a tender held by the Jamaican Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR). Construction has already begun, says MPC Capital in a press release, and completion is scheduled during the first half of next year.

The facility will sell power to state-owned utility the Jamaica Public Service Company Limited (JPS) under a 20-year PPA and at a rate of USD85/MWh.

When completed, the solar park will be the largest PV installation in the Caribbean. Other large-scale projects are operational or under development in Jamaica, including a 37 MW project by Eight Rivers and Neoen; a floating project by Jamaican oil company the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica; a 28 MW solar park constructed by Spain’s Global Energy Services (GES); and another a 20 MW operational solar plant in Clarendon, started in July 2015 by Florida-based WRB Energy.

Jamaica is seeking to deploy more solar energy capacity to reduce its heavy dependence on fossil fuels, which contribute around 90% of the nation’s power production. Utility JPS’ power generation relies mainly on oil fired steam, combustion gas turbines, combined cycle, diesel, hydroelectric and wind.

Jamaica’s Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Andrew Wheatley, said in 2016 around 10.5% of net electricity generated was from renewable energy.