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Community access points to be powered by solar energy

Friday, August 11, 2017

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KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) – Science, Energy and Technology Minister Dr Andrew Wheatley has announced plans for the utilisation of solar energy to power the more than 250 community access points (CAPs) providing public Internet and technology services islandwide.

This, Dr Wheatley said, is in order to reduce the high costs associated with operating the facilities and to ensure their sustainability.

He was addressing yesterday's official opening of the $3.5-million Annotto Bay computer resource centre in St Mary, which was developed by the Universal Service Fund (USF), an agency of the ministry.

He noted that the ministry took the decision to provide solar-energy solutions, following a 2016 audit of the CAPs, which revealed that just over 70 were operating inefficiently, mainly due to high energy costs.

“We made a decision that… all sites must have, as a critical component, solar solutions. This is important in order to remove that burden… of the high cost of (electricity) from the communities,” he said.

He added that the solar project “is part of the sustainability programme of the USF”. The USF's Director of Projects, Everold Simms, said that plans are being developed for the initial installation of solar solutions in six pilot centres and, thereafter, an overall rollout of the engagement.

The new CAP in Annotto Bay is the 256th facility that the USF has established and the seventh in St Mary.

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