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Jamaica is ideally suited for using renewable energy sources such as wind and solar. The islands are bathed in sunlight with strong winds, providing many opportunities for renewables. Yet the island still depends on expensive, imported fossil fuels that mean Jamaicans have to deal with some of the highest electricity costs in the world . However, things are changing quickly and the government has committed to 50% renewable energy by 2030.
Climate change presents big challenges for the Caribbean. In Puerto Rico, the islands were devastated by the hurricanes of 2017, and many were without power for months. Adopting renewable energy can reduce greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. Even more importantly for Jamaica, which emits just 0.02% of global emissions, renewable energy can help adapt to a changing climate and benefit the local economy. By going green, Jamaica can also become more resilient.
The energy transition is happening slowly but surely, and it seems taking advantage of renewable energy could bring a prosperous future for the island. There are many Jamaicans promoting the benefits of renewable energy for their island and these are just a few entrepreneurs working in the private sector.
Nathaniel Peat, Co-Founder of GeNNex Elite
Nathaniel Peat is a multi-award winning British-Jamaican entrepreneur, engineer and a man of many talents and achievements. He is a regular contributor to TV, radio and print stories which deal with social issues surrounding youth, gender equality, youth crime, entrepreneurship and renewable energy. He is the co-founder of GeNNex Solar which is an award-winning renewable energy company that has operations in Africa and the Caribbean. Nathaniel was drafted into the Courvoisier Observers Future 500 Next Generation List and later that year he traveled to Jamaica along with 30 young people from the UK where he spoke at Jamaica’s first Youth Diaspora conference. He was also featured the under 40’s section of the 2011 Black Power List of Britain’s most influential black people.
The crisis associated with youth unemployment, education and energy poverty affects thousands of people in Jamaica. Nathaniel began tackling this problem in 2015 by empowering unemployed rural youth, teaching them how to build, assemble and maintain our solar devices, and by doing so, giving them transferable skills, education & business acumen unlocking their potential to further develop themselves and access employment. In the near future, the program is expanding nationally in partnership with The Housing, Opportunity, Production & Employment (HOPE) Programme which is a Government initiative providing an avenue for the development of youth towards sustainable employment.
There are many opportunities in Jamaica towards the development of renewable solutions both in user education and manufacture for the entire region of the Caribbean. Caribbean nations rely heavily on oil and diesel imports to fuel their power needs it’s a dirty, expensive and has a negative impact on the environment. This creates an opportunity for Tech entrepreneurs to transform not only their energy systems, but agriculture and the blue economy, and generally innovating on sustainable greener solutions.
Sean Hinds, CEO of Radiant Energy
Sean is the CEO of Radiant Energy Ltd, and co-founder along with COO Tai DaCosta. He defines himself as an entrepreneur with a passion for renewable energy. Sean became passionate about renewable sources of energy and thrives to make a difference at Radiant Energy, an energy solutions company specializing in the development and deployment of behind-the-meter energy generation, storage and management systems.
Radiant Energy Ltd is an energy solutions company specializing in the development and deployment of behind-the-meter energy generation, storage and management systems. They aim to deliver clean, affordable, reliable energy products and services to customers, in order to help them keep electricity high in usefulness and low in cost, and where possible eliminating their dependence on utility-provided power.
Sean argues that there is a strong correlation between energy consumption growth and growth in GDP. Conversely, high energy prices discourage energy consumption growth and decrease living standards. Radiant Energy works to provide customers with reliable energy that is cleaner and more affordable than utility power thus ensuring Jamaica increases energy consumption and GDP while decreasing its carbon footprint and mitigating against climate change.
We deliver clean, affordable, reliable energy products and services to our customers, in order to help them keep electricity high in usefulness and low in cost, and where possible eliminating their dependence on utility provided power.
Shelly-Ann Dinnall, Farmer at Jamaica Broilers Group
Shelly-Ann is one of Jamaica’s youngest female farmers and a Jamaica Broilers Group’s (JBG) champion farmer. She represented Jamaica as one of four speakers who shared their challenges and breakthroughs on a World Bank’s panel discussion entitled: ‘Future Harvest: Who Will Grow Tomorrow’s Food?’ — from using solar power to lower the costs of poultry farming in Jamaica to growing fresh greens for a small café in Kampala, Uganda; making farming viable for young women in remote Western Australia; and practising large-scale agro-ecology in the state of São Paolo, Brazil. Since then, the young Jamaican farmer has been incorporated in the World Bank Group promotional video highlighting the bank’s important meetings held during 2017.
Shelly-Ann was the obvious choice from Jamaica because she has an enviable track record of achievement as a young, female poultry farmer since she became involved in her family business 11 years ago …and [has won] champion trophies from the annual Denbigh Agriculture Show for being among the island’s best - Pamella Russell of the Jamaica Broilers Group.
Jason Robinson, CEO of Solar Buzz Jamaica
Jason is the CEO of SolarBuzz Jamaica and an experienced entrepreneur who has helped pioneer the solar energy industry in Jamaica for residential land commercial clients. Jason’s main focus is to push resilient power for all Jamaicans to help offset high energy costs and protect against extended blackouts due to natural disasters.
Solar Buzz is focused on reducing Jamaica’s dependence on foreign oil imports by substituting its client’s energy usage through solar systems and energy savings products. Their objective is to create energy freedom while saving the planet, and they are currently helping Jamaican businesses and homeowners to offset over 500 Metric Tons of CO2 emissions annually. This transition to clean energy helps shifts Jamaica’s trajectory on the path towards climate change prevention. These same clients also benefit from lower monthly energy bills which allow them to be more competitive in the region or to be able to afford other necessities for their families.
In order for solar to benefit a wider market the banking sector needs to improve their lending speeds and loan terms for green loans. The days of uncertainty in solar are over and banks need to step up and start lending at the same speed at which they disperse car and home loans. The green energy loan default rate in Jamaica is less than 1% according the Development Bank of Jamaica. There is a huge opportunity for the first bank or fund to really penetrate this market. The key however is having a trusted installer that keeps the borrowers happy with systems that perform as promised, which is where Solar Buzz has proven ourselves.
The implementation of battery storage for home and businesses is the next big tech opportunity for Jamaica. As battery prices decrease and financing improves we believe every home in Jamaica will eventually be able to afford solar + battery storage. This will allow homes to be more resilient against natural disasters such as hurricanes and to have near zero energy bills monthly.
Suzanne Shaw, Co-Founder Leap Impact Investment Fund
Suzanne is a Chemical Engineer with a PhD in Energy and Climate Change Economics from Université du Paris Dauphine. She is a clean energy expert and co-founder of The Leap Co - an investment company that supports and invests in businesses that deliver positive social or environmental impact. The Leap Co is active in the areas of sustainable energy, climate resilience, employment and entrepreneurship, health, safety and security, education and housing.
Suzanne is focused in emerging and developed economies, helping them to deliver positive social and environmental gains. She has assessed sustainable energy and transport investments totalling 1 billion USD, for development and financing institutions such as Inter-American Development Bank and United Nations Development Programme, resulting in investments including 30 Solar Schools in Jamaica, and an electric vehicle program in St. Vincent. These investments have increased energy security and climate resilience in the Caribbean. Suzanne was also an advisor in the conceptualization of the Caribbean Climate Smart Accelerator, a new organization established to drive resiliency in the Caribbean.
Suzanne also has expertise in the development and analysis of economic and environmental impact metrics of projects. She developed and led the economic and environmental monitoring and review of 150 energy and transport projects, while working at a Brussels-based European energy agency. Prior to returning to the Caribbean in 2015, Suzanne worked for various European institutions, advising on low-carbon energy strategies and incentives for sustainable energy development. She also worked as a consultant helping energy companies green their energy supply portfolios.
Kimroy Bailey, Founder of Kimroy Bailey Group
Kimroy is an electrical engineer who studied at the University of Technology of Jamaica. He is the founder and Group Managing Director of the Kimroy Bailey Group and the Lead Robotics Engineer of his Kimroy Bailey Robotics Company, which led the development of the Tropical Storm Robotic Wind Turbine from circuit design and simulation, to physical modeling.
Kimroy is an expert in quadcopter technology, data acquisition, serial communication, MatLab simulation and analog and digital circuit design leveraged to diversify company’s income streams. He has run programs for Jamaican youth across the island to engage them with the potential of renewable energy and artificial intelligence.
I want to form strategic alliances created with heads of government, senior private sector managers and venture capitals to fund research.
If you enjoyed this article don’t forget to read about The 10 Powerful Women Leading Jamaica’s Sustainability Movement.
February 7, 2019 at 07:44AM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs