Wed | Nov 13, 2019

Low-income off-grid communities to get solar power

Published:Wednesday | May 16, 2018 | 9:58 AM
Dr Andrew Wheatley - File photo

The Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ) is to undertake an initiative to provide low-income off-grid communities with Solar PV-Kits.

In his contribution to the Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, Minister of Science, Energy and Technology Dr Andrew Wheatley said the pilot project will take into consideration 45 households, but the overall project goal is to provide up to 2,000 households in these communities with renewable generated electricity.

Wheatley noted that the project will seek to develop a replicable model for the promotion of sustainable energy supplies within communities that have depended mainly on candles, kerosene lamps or charcoal because it is not economically feasible to install conventional pole and line infrastructure.

He noted that the burning of kerosene and its use in a confined space are harmful to life and health.

According to him, medical research shows that the burning of kerosene to be especially inimical to the development of the young human brain.

“We must work as a government and as a parliament to ensure there is no repeat of recent tragedies involving the kerosene lamp where houses have been destroyed and the lives of our children lost. Every member of this House will agree with me when I say that our low-income Jamaican families deserve better,” Wheatley said.

He argued that the amount of money spent on a kerosene lamp and the fuel to burn it for three months cost more than the price of a solar home lantern.

The minister noted that a solar home lantern, which is charged by sunlight, is one of the most efficient off-grid lights.

Wheatley highlighted that it was bright enough for reading, working or lighting up a small space and can last for a number of years.

“The PCJ, as one of its good corporate citizen initiatives, is initially distributing just over 5,000 of these solar-powered lanterns, with an allocation being provided to Members of Parliament whose constituencies have been most affected by domestic fires,” he said.

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