Climate
JM | Dec 15, 2020

Jamaica going solar with water treatment and irrigation

/ Our Today

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Water treatment can be maximised at lower energy consumption by powering it with solar PV

An example of a photo voltaic irrigation system. (Illustration: (researchgate.com)

The Jamaican government has signaled its intention of going solar with water treatment plants and irrigation systems in its drive for energy efficiency and reducing its fossil fuel imprint.

To this end, the Andrew Holness administration has tendered a solar project aimed at powering a water treatment plant. At the same time, the government announced that the administration is moving to power with photo-voltaics (PV) irrigation systems operated by the National Irrigation Commission (NIC).

PV is the conversion of light into electricity or, in other words, harnessing electricity from the energy of the sun. The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries has announced that all irrigation systems operated by the NIC will be powered exclusively by PV installations within the next two years.

Solar treatment plant tender made

Solar panels like these would be used in the irrigation system.

In the meantime, the Water Resources Authority (WRA) has launched a tender for the construction of a solar project of unspecified size at the Constant Spring Treatment Plant, which is located in Kingston. Interested developers will have until January 15 to submit their bids.

Jamaica is targeting to add 1.6 gig watt of new renewable energy capacity by 2037. Based on information provided by the International Renewable Energy Agency, Jamaica currently has around 93 megawatts of installed capacity, of which approximately 43 megawatts were deployed last year.

Solar energy equipment donated

Green: “We recognised that as much as we seek to improve irrigation supply, our ability to provide efficiently and at minimum cost is critical.”

In July, the Jamaican government announced a plan to tender 500 megawatts of renewable generation capacity next year. Solar equipment worth $29 million was delivered to the NIC and the WRA last week.

Speaking at the handover, Floyd Green, minister of agriculture and fisheries, said the ministry was targeting solar energy plants, noting that, “we recognised that as much as we seek to improve irrigation supply, our ability to provide efficiently and at minimum cost is critical”.

“The project, which represents one of the largest investments in irrigation infrastructure in Jamaica, will impact the livelihoods of more than 700 farmers on 718 hectares of land through the provision of irrigated water and improved access to local and global agricultural markets,” Green said.

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