Jamaica turns to solar for irrigation, water treatment


Jamaica's Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries has announced that all irrigation systems operated by the National Irrigation Commission (NIC) will be powered exclusively by PV installations within the next two years.

“We recognized that as much as we seek to improve irrigation supply, our ability to provide efficiently and at minimum cost is critical,” said minister Floyd Green. “In fact, we are targeting solar energy plants.”

Solar equipment worth JM$29 million (US$200,000) was delivered to the NIC and the Water Resources Authority (WRA) last week. “The project, which represents one of the largest investments in irrigation infrastructure in Jamaica, will impact the livelihoods of more than 700 farmers on 718 hectares of land through the provision of irrigated water and improved access to local and global agricultural markets,” Green also stated.

The WRA, meanwhile, has launched a tender for the construction of a solar project of unspecified size at the Constant Spring Treatment Plant, which is located in Kingston. Interested developers will have until January 15 to submit their bids.

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Jamaica is targeting to add 1.6 GW of new renewable energy capacity by 2037. Currently, the country has around 93 MW of installed capacity, of which approximately 43 MW were deployed last year, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency.

In July, the Jamaican government announced a plan to tender 500 MW of renewable generation capacity next year.

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