BY: CANDICE STEWART
As of 2020, Jamaica’s use of renewables accounted for approximately 11 percent of its energy (6.5 percent wind; 3.5 percent hydropower; and 1 percent solar).
Solar energy being the least utilised speaks volumes, since it is the most abundant renewable energy source available. It is derived from the sun and converted into thermal or electrical energy thus reducing the dependency on fossil fuels.
The business world in Jamaica has realised this and continues to tap into the renewable energy market as the country aims for a reduction of its dependence on fossil fuels.
One such business is Real Power Solutions. It was formed because of the high cost of energy and limited renewable and energy conservation solutions in Jamaica. The company’s aim is to reduce commercial and residential energy usage, which further contributes to the country’s achievement of its Vision 2030 plan.
The Vision indicates that the government seeks to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels for electricity generation. A target has been set to achieve 33 per cent of electricity generation from renewables by 2030 and 50 per cent by 2037.
The Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Hon. Daryl Vaz, once said that leveraging the power of renewable sources for the country’s energy sector is a priority in the creation of a new Jamaica.
In doing so, it is anticipated that the impact of such leverage will result in less vulnerability to external economic shocks, more immunity from the negative effects of geopolitical tensions, reduced energy prices, 100 per cent electricity access, and reduction in the country’s carbon footprint.
It is with such an anticipation that drives the company to serve energy transition solutions to its customers.
With just about eight years in the energy sector, Real Power Solutions has executed several installations in Treasure Beach, St. Elizabeth for Airbnbs and small hotels. The solutions/services provided are:
- Solar design and installation
- Solar water heater supply and installation
- Energy Audits
Variable Frequency pump drives supply, installation and repairs
- Home and commercial building automation systems
The company has executed over 50+ installations from a wide range of industries. These include the financial sector, the hospitality and tourism sector, as well as the industry and commercial sectors.
“We have installed over 70+ residential and commercial scale solar projects across the island along with maintenance services for large scale energy monitoring projects,” says a representative from the Real Power Solutions team.
The energy solutions company also educates their customers about how their installations work, how the people benefit and how the environment benefit in the long run. This is done before, during and after every project.
There are three primary ways in which solar energy can be harnessed. These are: photovoltaics, solar heating & cooling, and concentrating solar power. Photovoltaics generate electricity directly from sunlight via an electronic process and can be used to power anything from small electronics such as calculators and road signs up to homes and large commercial businesses. Solar heating & cooling (SHC) and concentrating solar power (CSP) both utilise the heat generated by the sun to provide space or water heating in the case of SHC systems, or to run traditional electricity-generating turbines in the case of CSP power plants.
In the case of Real Power Solutions, their offered services utilise photovoltaics and solar heating and cooling.
“Solar system design and installation would harness solar power with the use of photovoltaic panels. Solar water heaters would use solar heating by the use of copper tubes in the solar water heater to harness solar heat. The other services really reduce your energy usage and not harness solar power. With a smaller energy consumption it means that a smaller solar system would be needed for installation,” explains a representative from Real Power Solutions.
Many tend to shy away from solar energy options because of the high costs for installation and adjustment.
“For those who are concerned about the initial cost, remember that you are purchasing energy independence, energy freedom. It is also financially sensible over a given period.”
“Solar energy is the way of the future as it’s currently the cheapest form of energy generation compared to coal, nuclear and diesel power plants. With the world’s push to cleaner, greener energy generation for transportation and consumption, solar will become the dominant form of energy production. Imagine being able to charge your vehicle and drive for free from your home in Kingston to your vacation spot in Mobay and back. What could possibly beat free?”the company says.
As for the future of the company, Real Power Solutions plans to install over 2GW solar capacity by 2024 and engage in solar energy and conservation education for the youth. The company will continue the education they provide for the current clients. They also aspire to be among the largest installers of Building Management Systems across Jamaica.
You may find Real Power Solutions at 37 Mannings Hill Road in Kingston and at realpowersolutionsja.com.
This story was published with the support of Climate Tracker’s Caribbean energy transition journalism fellowship.