Ross Sheil, Staff Reporter
'Solar Man', the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica's solar panel mascot.
In an effort to persuade more Jamaicans to shift to solar power, the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ) is to unveil a new mascot, 'Solar Man'.
With a solar panel-shaped body, albeit slightly resembling a mattress, the PCJ hopes that Solar Man will encourage young people to adapt solar technology in an effort to tackle Jamaica's spiralling
energy import bill, expected to reach US$1.5 billion this year.
"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 PCJ Group managing director, Dr. Ruth Potopsingh, who expects the mascot to be a success.
Solar Man will soon appear on television time signals, at the cinema and in public advertising.
A welcomed initiative
David Barrett, secretary of the Jamaica Solar Energy Association, welcomed the initiative as part of a growing public interest in solar energy, although he said it was unclear whether the mascot clearly resembled a solar panel.
"I think more people are interested in solar than before, just in terms of personal interaction - persons who have not been associated with the field have been talking to me more about getting a solar power heater," said Mr. Barrett.
Solar water heaters (SWH) are GCT and import duty exempt. The National Housing Trust offers loans to householders of up to $100,000. The cost of an SWH unit can be recouped in two to three years.
New Era homes has installed SWHs on all units of its 950-home Caribbean Estate Development in St. Catherine, part of what director Jeanette Calder said was a company decision to limit post-occupancy costs such as light bills.
Today at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston, the PCJ will be hosting a talk by Steven Strong, a United States-based expert on solar use in buildings, beginning at 2:00 p.m. admission to the public will be free.
Courtesy of the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica