Gone with the wind - Electricity bills cut 90% as windmills blow into Portmore
Published: Monday | March 16, 2009
Andrew Anderson explains his windmill-powered electricity system. - photos by Norman Grindley/Chief Photographer
While most electricity consumers are skittish in the wake of a requested rate hike by the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS), some residents in Portmore, St Catherine, are letting out a big yawn.
For them, paying power charges is a breeze - literally.
Andrew Anderson and Adrian Levy are two of a growing number of homeowners in the Sunshine City who have slashed power rates by up to 90 per cent through a solar-wind hybrid energy system.
Anderson, a fibre-optic cable distributor, lives in a large two-storey home with a washing machine, microwave, refrigerator, three large television sets, ceiling fans, a computer and power-guzzling air-conditioning units.
When he was fully dependent on the JPS grid years ago, energy bills burned holes in his pockets to the tune of more than $8,000 monthly. That meant turning on his air-conditioning units for about two hours a week to cool down his agitated kids and then suffering through the heat the rest of the time. Now, Anderson says he turns on everything and it costs him virtually nothing!
Aside from connection charges, JPS service has now been reduced to merely a backup plan.
Levy, a technician and operator of Jamtech Energy Solutions, boasts as much as an 80 per cent reduction in his electricity bill. While powering up his appliances, his JPS meter was parked! That's because Levy's electricity was being totally generated by the system he uses.
This windmill helps generate power at Adrian Levy's home in Portmore.
Both men have turned their personal practice into entrepreneurial gain, launching out, separately, to offer the budget-friendly service to other homeowners in the sprawling dormitory community.
For start-ups, Anderson's system will cost you $650,000 for a 48vdc system, similar to the one that runs his home. It includes the installation of the system, a dump loader, inverter, batteries, solar panels, an adjustable wind turbine, among other things.
Levy's company, Jamtech Energy Solutions, is targeting medium-income earners - or in his words, the "small man" - who might not have the resources to install the most elaborate system immediately. The 'small-man' deal will cost you about US$4,000 (J$350,000), including the installation of the system, of which the backbone is solar power. That does not include the price of a wind turbine, which Levy says is inexpensive.
A windmill atop a home in Portmore. - Norman Grindley/Chief Photographer