Climate
JM | Sep 16, 2022

The Robinsons making energy freedom a reality for Jamaicans

Shemar-Leslie Louisy

Shemar-Leslie Louisy / Our Today

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Solarbuzz solar panel technology on residential home (Photo contributed by: Solarbuzz)

Since 2011, The Robinson family – Father Gordon Robinson and his two sons, Justin and Jason – have been among the pioneers of implementing solar and energy efficient technology into households and businesses in Jamaica.

Their company, Solarbuzz, has made it possible to reduce energy costs with their solar technology, energy efficient technology and glass tinting.

The company started when Jason, who worked with a solar energy company in the United States (US), saw the potential Jamaica had to reduce its energy consumption during the energy crisis of 2010. He returned home and partnered with his brother and father to found Solarbuzz in 2011.

From left: COO of Solarbuzz Justin Robinson, chairman of Solarbuzz Gordon Robinson and CEO of Solarbuzz Jason Robinson. (Photo: Solarbuzz)

“We’re a very tight-knit family. We’re very supportive of each other and that makes it easy for us to work together. We all thought this would be a good idea and we were all motivated when we saw how the local power company treated their customers. We thought it was unfair and we wanted to provide a solution for families and business owners,” said Jason, CEO of Solarbuzz.

“I’m so proud of them, in fact to say that I’m proud of them is an understatement. They know what they’re doing and they’ve hired very good people. I don’t even have to go into the office anymore, they run everything, Jason and Justin do a great job of handling things with Solar and everything social and Justin handles everything around tinting which has been really big for us,” said Gordon, chairman of Solarbuzz.

Jason Robinson, CEO of Solarbuzz. (Photo: Solarbuzz)

“I think we entered the market ahead of most companies, it’s getting popular to start a solar company now and sell solar but you have to know what you’re doing and I think our years of experience and reputation which we have built up over the last decade,” he continued.

“For me, yes, it’s about saving the planet, it’s also about seeing small business owners in the country survive and thrive. Giving people that help they need is extremely motivating for me,” said Jason.

He added: “Justin has been instrumental in bringing on additional income streams, before the DBJ [Development Bank of Jamaica], started to fund solar energy loans in 2014, it was very difficult to do solar jobs and we couldn’t rely on streams from solar energy. Justin came up with the idea of reducing heat loads through glass tinting.”

Birdseye view of UHWI. (Photo: Solarbuzz)

Jason said the next step for Solarbuzz is continued growth in Jamaica by partnering and working with the banking sector to deploy renewable energy to more residential homeowners in Jamaica. They are working on making battery based lithium systems available for homeowners for use as back-up power especially in the event of a hurricane or other disaster

Energy consultant group CADMUS, is putting together a seminar with support from USAID, co-hosted by the Jamaica Energy Resilience Alliance (JERA) and the DBJ with support from USAID for educating the banking industry on how to lend and why they should lend more for renewable energy.

“The banking industry has made a lot of progress since 2014. I think there needs to be a more cohesive policy in place, they need to give people more loans and faster, or foreign companies are going to come here and do it,” said Jason, who is also vice-president of JERA.

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