Are we there yet? Jamaican Solar Outlook

Solar has come a far way and in a country where we have an abundance of sunshine what are the factors preventing solar from being a major source of energy for the majority of people. 

A few factors we may consider includes:

  • Battery safety
  • Cost of Ownership
  • Closing the Knowledge Knowledge gap
  • Strategic framework and Policies

Battery Safety

With the development of lithium-ion  in recent years and its many challenges including; the raw material being a limited resources, the carbon emission issues and potential risk of fire there is a push to develop a better batteries that brings us closer to solving all of these issues.

Cost of Ownership

For those who have considered installing a solar system in their home the question of cost is usually a major deciding factor. A typical house having the basic appliance may consume any ware between 200 to 300 kWh per month. A solar system capable of delivering the energy to offset 100% of your utility cost which may be between JA $ 10,200 to JA$ 15,000 per month can cost anywhere as mentioned before between JA 1.4M to 2.0M with limited battery storage. This means that a payback period of 8 years.

A key recommendation for persons interested in installation of energy solution system in their homes is first to retrofit their homes with low energy consuming device and to adopt energy conservation strategy that will reduce your overall energy consumption. With the uncontrollable rise in fuel cost subsequently causing further in electricity cost this effort is not sufficient.

A world in which we can achieve net zone emission, chemically safe batteries and a cost effective solution may be a world in the distance future. 

Closing the Knowledge Gap

Not many person a equipped with the technical knowledge of solar and its disadvantage and benefit. Therefore the onus is on the players in the industry to educate persons regarding the cost and environmental benefit which can be a driver for increasing interest in solar.

Strategic framework and Policies

Other issues we will have to control is the standardization of the system. This is where the manufacture and policy makers establish guidelines and product standards that will govern manufacturing, distribution, secondlife resale/distribution and disposal. This is necessary due to the potential economical impact and for consumer protection.  

  • Government revenue
  • Charging station guidelines