Paradise Park Solar Farm to be ready by summerSunday, March 17, 2019
BY HORACE HINES
Work on the Paradise Park Solar Park, which broke ground in December 2017, is scheduled for completion this summer.
The 37-megawatt facility near Savanna-la-Mar in Westmoreland, estimated to cost US$60 million is being described as the largest solar-powered plant in the English-speaking Caribbean.
“I can tell you that the project is a bit more than 50 per cent completed. It took us some time to get to this 50 per cent but you might ask, is it going to take you twice as long? No it won't. The hard work has been done. Now we are doing the repetitive tasks on the project and by doing that I think we will complete the project this summer,” said David Delaire, managing director of MPC Renewable Energies, one of the principals of the project.
“We are working very closely with the JPS to ensure that we meet the required timeline and so by doing that we are quite confident we will be able to start injecting power in the summer.”
The other principals behind the plant are French company Neoen and Rekamniar Frontier Ventures, founded by Jamaican Angella Rainford.
Speaking to reporters following a site visit with representatives of the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) on Thursday, Delaire noted that upon completion between 230,000 to 240,000 panels will be installed. He added that about 80 gigawatt hours will be generated annually from the plant during its 20 years life span.
“So that you can imagine, it will produce electricity for well over 100,000 people here in Jamaica,” the MPC Renewable Energies executive disclosed.
He appealed to other members of the English-speaking Caribbean to embrace renewable energy, similar to some Spanish-speaking islands.
“We feel that this project is significant, not only to us, but to Jamaica because it will be the largest solar project in the English-speaking Caribbean and for that I believe it's time for the English-speaking Caribbean to embrace renewable energies. As I look throughout the Caribbean the Spanish-speaking islands have embraced it — in the Dominican Republic, as well as in Puerto Rico. So with the completion of this park I think that Jamaica will join the ranks of the leaders in the Caribbean area,” Delaire argued.
He noted that to date well over 270 people are employed on the plant site but “we expect to increase, we will be over 300 when we are at the peak which will be next month”.
Edison Galbraith, general manager Loan Origination and Portfolio Management at DBJ expressed satisfaction with their partneriship with MPC Clean Energy in the project.
“The Development Bank of Jamaica is very happy to be partnering with MPC Clean Energy on the Paradise Park Solar Farm in Westmoreland. It's part of our mandate to try to support renewable energy and clean energy in Jamaica, to reduce our green house gas emissions. This is one of the planks of DBJ. We support renewable energy in several areas, in our lending operations, our capacity building, where we offer training for MSMEs; also through our public private partnerships and privatisation team which privatise assets on behalf of the Government, but very critically, with our venture capital programme which has in fact invested in MPC Clean Energy and supported this project,” Galbraith said.
Wainston Clarke investment analyst for the DBJ's Jamaica Venture Capital programme at DBJ was equally elated.
“As part of the Venture Capital mandate is to grow the entrepreneurial ecosystem within the island, so we had an offer proposal in late 2017 where we called for fund managers to send their proposals in terms of funds investing in entrepreneurs in Jamaica and we got the proposal from MPC.
“We have invested US$1million in the project,” he revealed.