Clarifications on Mona reservoir floating solar project
THE EDITOR, Sir:
The National Water Commission (NWC) is aware of misinformation being circulated through various media channels regarding the recently launched 45MW Mona Reservoir Floating Solar Project by the prime minister. In an effort to dispel any doubts and to set the record straight, the NWC now provides the following facts regarding the project.
The project is now up and running; the initial pilot of approximately 50KW was installed since May 2022. This pilot so far has resulted in a reduction in energy consumption at the Mona Treatment Plant complex for July 2022 by 31 per cent over May’s energy consumption.
There are many benefits that will be derived by the NWC. A key benefit is energy savings, as well as the potential for other savings as listed below:
A. Under this project, the NWC will utilise 100 per cent of its energy needs at the Mona Treatment Plant complex. This will result in savings at today’s energy cost of approximately $35m annually.
B. The NWC will receive lease payments for the leasing of the 100 acres of the water surface plus four acres of land for the installation of inverters, battery storage and grid stability equipment.
C. Potential savings due to reduced evaporation losses from the reservoir’s surface, estimated at 576,000 cubic metres of water annually, with a potential revenue of US$311,000 annually.
D. The project will involve control dredging of areas in the reservoir where silt would have accumulated, based on the bathometry study completed. The estimated additional capacity in the reservoir is 768,000 cubic metres annually, with a conservative revenue potential of US$420,000 annually.
E. We also, conservatively, pending the finalisation of wheeling rates, will see a reduction in the NWC’s overall energy cost per KWh of 30 per cent of current rate of approximately US$0.38 KWh, the cost as at August 2022.
Some of the key features are:
i. The overall project will see the installation of photovoltaic cells (solar panels) to produce 45MW DC.
ii. 10MW DC will be on lease to the NWC for wheeling, in addition to 5MW/h of energy storage.
iii. 35MW DC of renewable power generation is intended to be supplied to the JPSCo grid with a 20MW/h grid storage system as well as a grid stability system.
The Mona Reservoir Floating Solar Project is a great example of the Government and, by extension, the NWC leading the way in implementing a strategic project that will generate green energy that is both resilient and climate-adaptive. This is also futuristic in putting Jamaica on the path to being energy-independent.