Wed | Nov 29, 2023

Get green! - Opposition spokesman Mair proposes all gov't buildings be solar powered

Published:Monday | June 3, 2013 | 12:00 AM

Opposition spokesman on Industry, Commerce and Energy Gregory Mair is proposing that the administration make it mandatory for all government buildings to be fitted with solar photovoltaic systems.

"Every government building must have solar panels energising their lights, fans and other equipment. Not only will it bring savings in foreign exchange used by JPS to purchase fuel, but it will also reduce the electricity bills of Government and stimulate the growth of an industry of which Jamaica could become the Caribbean leader," Mair pointed out during his contribution, last week, to the Sectoral Debate in Parliament.

He also wants the Government to introduce policy to make it compulsory for solar photovoltaic systems to be installed in government-related schemes.

"Let the Government drive demand in solar energy. If done properly, we could see an industry where we have solar photovoltaic panels and solar heating assembly plants exporting to the Caribbean and, by extension, the world," he added.

Discussing how this project could become a reality, Mair said the Government should make the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ) more efficient.

"As we are aware, the PCJ is funded by the one per cent commission earned from the sale of fuel to Petrojam. The PCJ does not require all this funding and the majority of it should be dedicated to building this industry. It is a win-win all around," Mair explained.

Turning to the PetroCaribe agreement, Mair argued that Jamaica could pay for fuel purchased under this accord with goods made locally, not only manufactured items but also produce.

According to Mair, Article IV of the PetroCaribe agreement states, among other things, that, "With regard to deferred payments, Venezuela shall be able to accept that the partial payments be done with products, goods and/or services, previously agreed by the parties, based on preferential rates proposed by the Government of Jamaica."

He noted that Venezuela imported a lot of products and Jamaica had failed to take advantage of this clause of the PetroCaribe deal.

"Our Government should meet with our counterparts in Venezuela, like many other countries have, and agree on the goods we will be selling them in exchange for their fuel. Once this is done, Government should encourage the establishment and expansion of the industries that will capitalise on this arrangement," the opposition spokesman stated.