Business

UTech to run on solar power

BY SHAMILLE SCOTT Business reporter

Wednesday, October 10, 2012    

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JAMAICA Public Service (JPS) and the University of Technology (UTech) have partnered to establish a solar renewable energy facility.

Recognising the need for more diversification in electricity generation, both institutions signed a memorandum of understanding on Monday for the solar energy project

The solar facility will provide electricity to the university and its engineering students will work on the project as part of a tool for learning. They will design and install the units. UTech will provide the site for the installation of the solar panels as well as technical support.

Meanwhile, JPS will use it as a trial to expand the solar energy programme to customers.

The main objectives to the project are to demonstrate the viability, true costs and operational factors of solar energy projects in Jamaica said Valentine Fagan, vice-president, generation expansion. It was funded by JPS and will educate and expose UTech students to new energy technologies.

This is not the first time JPS has worked with UTech, the power supply company has helped the Papine-based university with a power lab that is maintained by JPS.

The collaboration is a new initiative is designed to develop and promote best practices for the operation and to monitor the solar photovoltaic installation.

It's another step to providing alternative energy with a hope to a target 30 per cent in the energy mix by the year 2030.

A 100 kilowatt solar voltaic unit will be installed. Upon completion, it will be the largest single-array unit in Jamaica, Fagan said. He said it should be used as a model to advance future projects of this nature

Already, a steering committee of persons from UTech and JPS has been formed and they will oversee the management of the project. Companies have been invited to bid on the supply. The technical specifications of the project have also been developed.

"For the first time the university will have a diversified energy mix, using clean renewable energy. It will exercise our responsibility towards a low-carbon economy, said Ruth Potopsingh, director of sustainable energy, UTech.

The plant will contribute to lowering UTech's energy bill.

Potopsingh said the project is estimated cut UTech's energy bill by $1 million, monthly. It is slated to be completed in six months.

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