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Harness the sun with Solar Direk

Published:Saturday | March 3, 2012 | 12:00 AM
Omar Steer, sales and operations manager of the newly opened solar-power company Solar Direk, located at Humber Avenue in Montego Bay.

Christopher Thomas, Gleaner Writer

WESTERN BUREAU:In keeping with the Government's thrust for greater energy-conservation patterns, citizens in Montego Bay now have the option of powering their homes and businesses through Solar Direk.

"We consider ourselves a renewable-energy solution to the high energy cost in Jamaica. We are the retailer of all the things associated with the solar-energy systems, so we carry all the components required to set up a solar system," said sales and operations manager Omar Steer.

Located at Mystic Plaza on Humber Avenue in Montego Bay, Solar Direk is making its mark among solar-power enthusiasts less than a month after it began operations.

"The response is tremendous ... I'm the only one-stop energy store in the west. It's the only place where you can come and get all the components of a system, and we also have contractors that can install the system," added Steer.

Having completed a master's degree in marketing at the Mona School of Business in November 2011, Steer started the company based on his research on the need for savings on energy costs.

seek opportunities

"A big part of what we learnt (at Mona) was that the best thing to do is to become entrepreneurs and look for opportunities within the cutting-edge industries, new sustainable industries," he recounted.

Steer eventually settled on investing in a renewable- energy business as he could potentially make returns, and contribute to lowering energy costs in Jamaica.

"I did some preliminary research, and I made some contacts with some clients abroad. I found a location that I figured was ideal in Montego Bay and I went in," he said.

"I realised that in western Jamaica, there was no store that carried all the components necessary to set up a solar system."

The business carries competitively priced brand- name solar-power equipment including Solar World and Evergreen solar panels, Deka and Surette Rolls batteries, and Magnum, Xantrex, and Outback inverters.

So far, Solar Direk's most popular product is a 60-light-emitting diode (LED) solar motion light, which is a perimeter light that works off body movement and is unattached to the national power grid.

"It will drive down the prices of the products and make the industry more competitive, and in the end, our customers will benefit. In other words, more people will be able to afford solar systems," he said.