Representatives from Eight Rivers Energy Company (EREC), the Government of Jamaica, Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS), and the Clinton Foundation’s Climate Initiative break ground on the 37-megawatt Paradise Park solar farm in Westmoreland Parish, Jamaica
Today, representatives from Eight Rivers Energy Company, the Government of Jamaica, Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS), and the Clinton Foundation’s Climate Initiative broke ground on the Paradise Park solar energy farm in Westmoreland Parish, Jamaica, which, once commissioned, will be the largest solar park in Jamaica and one of the largest solar parks in the Caribbean.
The Paradise Park solar farm is being developed by Eight Rivers Energy Company (EREC) and will provide 37 megawatts (MW) of electric generation capacity, providing energy to Jamaica’s national grid at a lower cost than fossil fuels while reducing emissions by an estimated 30,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year.
As part of the project, EREC partnered with the Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI), an initiative of the Clinton Foundation, to develop and execute a community engagement campaign, “Project Shine,” to educate the project’s neighboring communities on the principles of renewable energy and the importance of electrical safety measures. Community engagement was crucial in getting the project off the ground and is critical to the long-term success of the project. It also brings the local government into the conversation and help paves the way for future clean energy endeavors.
Over the past year, Project Shine has provided lessons to local secondary school students about renewable energy, including a student renewable energy-themed competition titled “Competition Shine,” and a series of information sessions for adults on topics including how to save energy in the home and financing rooftop solar. The CCI team has already hosted community and school trainings in the surrounding towns that have reached nearly 2,000 people.
“I am proud that our foundation is part of an effort where key stakeholders – government officials, energy companies, civic leaders, and local communities – are coming together both to meet the economic challenges of energy consumption and the very real threat of climate change,” said President Bill Clinton. “I applaud Jamaica and other island nations all over the world for their leading role in powering today and protecting tomorrow."
"This 37MW solar project will further cement Jamaica's position as the regional leader in renewable energy development,” said Andrew Wheatley, Minister of Science, Energy & Technology, Government of Jamaica. “Along the way, it is so important to train and build up the capacity of young people, especially in the solar PV industry."
“Energy security and sustainability is a critical foundation for the development of any nation. The high cost of fossil fuel-based electricity has historically stymied the Jamaica’s economic growth and has also left the country vulnerable to macro market factors,” said Angella Rainford, founder of Eight Rivers Energy Company. “As we break ground in Jamaica on what will be the largest solar farm in the Caribbean, we commemorate this positive step toward change in the energy landscape for the island nation and its people.”
“We welcome the partnership with EREC and CCI, as we at JPS continue our efforts to facilitate the addition of more renewable energy to the grid,” said Emanuel DaRosa, president and CEO of Jamaica Public Service Company. “The energy education and stakeholder engagement initiatives that were implemented, have set the stage for behaviour change that will no doubt result in tangible benefits for the community and for the rest of Jamaica.”
Around the world, the Clinton Foundation works to promote clean energy projects in island nations. In 2015, CCI helped facilitate the Wigton Windfarm in Manchester, Jamaica one of the largest wind power projects in the Caribbean, working to provide support for the third and largest expansion of 24 megawatts, lowering carbon emissions by 34,000 tonnes per year.
Guidance provided by CCI is supported through government aid funding from Norway.