Barbara Ellington, Public Affairs Editor
His June electricity bill was $23,632.90 but his next bill due for payment on July 16 is down to $4,796.82! The drastic reduction is as a result of a frustrated Science, Technology, Energy & Mining Minister Phillip Paulwell's decision to convert to solar power when 18 months ago, his regular bills ranged from the mid-20 thousands to, on at least one occasion, $30,000 per month. That set him on the path to find ways to decrease his dependency on the Jamaica Public Service (JPS) supply.
Naturally, with Jamaica's abundant supply of sunshine, solar energy topped his alternative energy sources list. His research led to a Cuba-based company that manufactures solar panels.
"I went to Cuba, checked out the manufacturers of the solar panels and found them to be affordable and of excellent quality," Paulwell told The Gleaner. "The first month after having the system installed, my next bill was dramatically reduced."
Difference in bills
Paulwell, who now leads by example, shared his June and July electricity bills that demonstrate the stark difference between his solar-powered house versus power from the JPS supply. Up until last month, Paulwell said the only times he reverted to the public power supply were when there was no sunshine for two days or whenever he had to use high-energy consumption appliances.
"It took approximately $2 million to install the solar system but it will pay for itself in five years and carries a 20-year guarantee," Paulwell said. He gets 3.2 kilowatt-hours from his system.
The batteries are charged during the day from the energy stored in the panels and this is used to run the house at night. He now has 18 panels but will add another six soon. "I will then be in a position to sell the excess electricity to the public supply," Paulwell said. "I look forward to the day when JPS pays me instead of me paying them."