GROUND-BREAKING SOLAR PILOT PROJECT SETS THE PACE FOR A MORE ENERGY-RESILIENT JAMAICA 

White Marl, St. Catherine, April 11, 2024 – Today marked a momentous occasion as stakeholders gathered at LASCO Distributors Ltd. to celebrate the successful completion of the UWI/LASCO Solar Pilot Project, which features the installation of a 500 kW PV+ system at the LASCO facility in Spanish Town, St. Catherine along with a 10 kW Solar Hybrid system to provide resilient power to the Central Village Multi-Purpose Centre adjacent to LASCO's distribution centre. This system has been developed in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Cadmus-led Jamaica Energy Resilience Alliance (JERA). Among the largest of its kind in the country, it will not only power LASCO's operations but also serve as a living laboratory for research and training purposes at the University of the West Indies, Mona (UWI). 

The project highlights the critical role of partnership in advancing renewable energy solutions and underscores the commitment of both the public and private sectors to bolstering Jamaica's energy resilience and sustainability. Its implementation, which will provide valuable experience-in-use to researchers at UWI, not only underscores commitment from LASCO and UWI to advancing solar technology but also provides a platform for critical research into commercial-scale batteries for distributive generation. 

Mr. James E.D. Rawle, CD, Deputy Executive Chairman of LASCO Affiliated Companies, remarked:  

"LASCO is proud to spearhead this ground-breaking project, which exemplifies our dedication to innovation and sustainability. Our partnership has not only yielded remarkable environmental benefits but also driven economic prosperity. From Jamaica's largest 500 kW Solar Hybrid system to the resilient 10 kW Solar Hybrid system at the Central Village Multi-Purpose Centre, we're not just reducing costs, we're safeguarding communities and businesses alike. By harnessing solar energy and cutting-edge storage technology, we are not only reducing our carbon footprint but also fortifying our operations against future disruptions." 

Aligned with Jamaica's energy policy objectives, the UWI/LASCO Solar Pilot Project demonstrates the transformative potential of resilient, renewable energy systems. Through the adoption of distributed solar photovoltaics (PV) and PV with battery storage (PV+), this initiative paves the way for a more resilient energy landscape, capable of withstanding natural or human-induced disruptions. LASCO's operations will see an increase in energy cost savings, emissions reductions, business continuity, and will now possess the ability to predict energy price. The Central Village Multi-Purpose Centre system will be capable of providing electricity for the surrounding community in times of emergency, further underscoring the project's commitment to community resilience and empowerment.  

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The Hon. Professor Anthony Chen – University of the West Indies, Mona said: 

“We are happy to be celebrating the completion of this pilot project, which marks a significant milestone for the resilience of Jamaica’s energy sector. UWI has been able to provide technical expertise, guidance, and training towards improving Jamaica’s energy sector resilience. With the completion of this solar storage project, we look forward to supporting the next generation of researchers in reaping the benefits of this system and embracing a growing market for renewable energy development.” 

The UWI/LASCO Solar Pilot Project represents a significant milestone in Jamaica's journey towards energy independence and is a testament to collaborative efforts towards a green, resilient energy future. 

His Excellency N. Nick Perry, Ambassador of The United States of America said: 

"The success of this project exemplifies the power of partnership and innovation in advancing our collective efforts toward an energy resilient Jamaica. The Government of Jamaica's ambition to generate 50% of the country’s energy from renewables by 2030 resonates deeply with the shared vision outlined in the U.S-Caribbean Partnership to Address the Climate Crisis 2030 (PACC 2030). PACC 2030, an investment of over US $140 million, emphasizes collaboration to enhance energy security and mitigate climate change impacts. I applaud LASCO for their leadership and commitment to advancing sustainability and resilience within Jamaica’s manufacturing sector." 

With a total project cost of USD $1.9 million, jointly invested by USAID and LASCO, the UWI/LASCO Solar Pilot Project is poised to deliver substantial cost savings while advancing Jamaica's renewable energy goals. The project's success underscores the transformative potential of public-private partnerships in driving sustainable development. As Jamaica continues its transition towards a cleaner, more resilient energy future, initiatives like the UWI/LASCO Solar Pilot Project serve as a beacon of hope and progress for our nation.  

The UWI/LASCO Solar Pilot Project was developed under the Strengthening Energy Sector Resilience in Jamaica project, a 3.5-year joint effort of USAID and JERA. As the lead implementer of JERA, Cadmus Vice President Christina Becker-Birck highlighted how the significance of this programme “goes well beyond the region” and how LASCO is “setting an example for Jamaica and the region through this pilot.” It was conceived by the University of the West Indies (UWI) and executed by LASCO with technical support from UWI Mona, Cadmus, and all JERA members. USAID provided approximately one-third of the funding and LASCO the balance. 

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