Carl Gilchrist, Gleaner Writer
RICHMOND, St Ann:
MINISTER OF Water and Housing Dr Horace Chang has reiterated the call for Jamaica to look more to using renewable energy sources.
Speaking during the official opening of Jamaica's first green community, The Palms, located in Richmond, St Ann, on Saturday, Chang said while the capital cost of such energy may be high, the country must find a way to do research in this area of development.
"Jamaica has abundant sunshine. It has wind, it has water, and we need to look more and more to renewable energy, and while the capital cost may still be high at different levels, including governmental level which I'm at, we have to find a way to stimulate the required research that will bring us the ability to benefit from this kind of natural resources," Dr Chang said.
He added: "The country that uses more solar energy than anywhere else is Germany, which is in the far north; they actually generate 20 per cent of their energy from solar energy. We get nearly 17 hours of sunshine sometimes - and we're not really using it. It's something that we have to look at."
Chang commended chairman of Richmond Development Company, Lee Issa, on the success of the development and noted that the community was nominated in 2010 for the International Renewable Energy Project of the Year.
Chang encouraged other developers to follow Issa's example in establishing similar green communities.
Meanwhile, general manager of Richmond Development, Steve Bennett, said 240 of the 245 units already completed in Phase One of the development, (The Palms) have been sold, with more than 140 of them already occupied.
He said 60 per cent of the units have been sold to overseas residents, split equally among persons from the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.
In excess of $1.3 billion have already been spent on the development, which when completed will have more than 1,500 units.
The Palms boasts reliance on solar energy to power street lights in the community and water heaters for the units. The houses are also fitted with thermo-bars, which are placed on the roofs to reduce heat penetration, thereby reducing electricity usage.
Green said the company will soon be employing someone to manage the handling of disposals from the community as they move towards the modern practice of disposable options.