News and Highlights
United States Agency for International Development, the Development Bank of Jamaica, and the Jamaica Energy Resilience Alliance Encourage Jamaican Banks to Increase Solar Financing
Caption: With support from USAID, representatives from DBJ and Cadmus/JERA gathered in Kingston to co-host a two-day solar financing seminar for Jamaican businesses and financial institutions. (Pictured left to right: David Barrett, JREA; Trisann Crosbie, DBJ; Mark Dennis, Cadmus/JERA; Anaitée Mills, Cadmus/JERA; Andrew Whiteman, Cadmus/JERA; Helon Whittaker, DBJ; and Jason Robinson, JREA.)
Reliable and resilient energy is critical to business operations and continuity across sectors. These are key priorities for both the governments of Jamaica and the United States, furthering the commitment made in 2020, with the launch of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) public/private partnership – the Jamaica Energy Resilience Alliance (JERA). JERA represents a coordinated action to increase the uptake of solar energy and supports the Government of Jamaica in achieving its goal of having 50% of electricity generated from renewable resources by 2030.
Together, JERA and USAID co-created the Strengthening Energy Sector Resilience in Jamaica (SESR-Jamaica) programme to support Jamaican businesses seeking to reduce electricity costs and green their operations with clean energy. The main goal of SESR-Jamaica is to increase the adoption of solar photovoltaics (PV) and PV plus storage (PV+) in Jamaica as solutions that seek to enhance and strengthen the local solar market and increase capacities in investments.
On September 22 and 23, JERA and the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ), supported by USAID, hosted a seminar for financial institutions interested in financing solar projects in Jamaica’s tourism, commercial, and industrial sectors. Experts in solar PV technology and financing shared the latest knowledge on solar PV and PV+ systems while providing a forum for over 60 representatives from local financial institutions and industry stakeholders to discuss innovative approaches for solar financing and market analysis.
Expert speakers from key organizations included representatives from JERA, Caribbean Energy Finance Company Limited (CEFCL), the Private Sector Organization of Jamaica (PSOJ), as well as the DBJ Public-Private Partnerships Unit and the European-funded renewable energy finance catalyzer, GET.invest. Ms. Pamela Foster, Director for the Office of Environment and Health at USAID Jamaica stated, "the effects of climate change are real and growing, [and] reliable and resilient energy is critical for business operations and continuity across sectors.” The effects of oil prices and disruption in electricity supply and growing climate changes in the region have devastating impacts on economic development of any country, and Jamaica is no exception.
There has been a significant decline in solar cost over the past twenty years. The average cost of solar panels in 2020 was nine times cheaper than in 2006, making the installation and utilization of solar panels increasingly economical. Some reasons for the decline in costs include technological innovation, cheaper and more efficient manufacturing, and government tax credits. Projections from the International Energy Agency predict that the power sector will be dominated by solar and wind by 2050. It is expected that fossil fuel generated power will decline while solar power increases, followed by wind power as a major contributor. The battery storage market is also expected to double within the next 10 years due to cost declines. Furthermore, power customers are increasingly interested in green power solutions to make an impact on the environment, save on electricity bills, and have the comfort of reliability.
As noted by Mr. Edison Galbraith of the DBJ, “in the future, [businesses] will need to show that there is sustainability in their portfolios, as customers will… want to know how an institution contributes to supporting the climate.” Many businesses looking to solar power for decreasing environmental impact, increasing reliability, and saving on electricity bills, are concerned about the cost of installing solar systems. To assist in discussion and planning of funding solar energy systems, DBJ’s financing products include a suite of loans and grants geared towards helping entities finance their renewable energy and energy efficiency efforts, such as the Energy Audit Grant, which provides funding to an entity to cover the costs of an energy audit of its facilities to determine ways to improve energy efficiency. The DBJ has given over $4B (JMD) in energy loans to support over 300 projects across Jamaica and supports a wide range of sectors including manufacturing, hotel and tourism, agriculture, and agricultural processing, among others.
The event concluded with a panel discussion moderated by JERA Chair, Ms. Anaitee Mills, in which sector experts shared insights about innovative approaches to solar financing including leasing, market aggregation, secondary markets, non-traditional collateral, and public-private partnerships. Emphasizing the financial returns of solar projects, panelist and Jamaica Renewable Energy Association Vice President, Mr. Jason Robinson, commented: “When solar systems perform as promised, clients do not default on their solar loans."
About JERA and Strengthening Energy Sector Resilience in Jamaica
JERA is an alliance of Jamaican and international private sector and non-profit organizations committed to support, promote and encourage the uptake of renewable energy for a more resilient and sustainable Jamaica. Cadmus, a US-based environmental, resilience, and renewable energy consultancy, is the JERA lead. "Strengthening Energy Sector Resilience in Jamaica” is a three-year program of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Jamaica Energy Resilience Alliance (JERA). Led by Cadmus and with USAID support, under SESR-Jamaica, JERA offers specialized support to Jamaican businesses seeking to reduce power costs, increase reliability of supply, and green their operations. JERA helps businesses:
- Understand how solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, including with battery storage (PV+), can benefit them;
- Navigate the regulatory and installation processes; and
- Access financing from JERA’s PV/PV+ developer partners with up to USD 50 million of available capital for investment-quality projects.
JERA is supporting a wide range of renewable energy market development activities to strengthen the resilience of Jamaica's energy sector. For more information about JERA and Strengthening Energy Sector Resilience in Jamaica, visit https://www.cadmusgroup.com/jamaicaenergy.
The Development Bank of Jamaica, a wholly owned Government company, facilitates economic growth and development across all sectors and includes all Jamaicans, regardless of socio-economic strata, in its quest to meet the Vision 2030 goal of making Jamaica “the place of choice to live, work, raise families and do business.” Among other services, the DBJ supports Jamaican businesses through the provision of access to financing, support services and a partial guarantee facility. For more information on DBJ, visit httsp://dbankjm.com. For more information specifically on the solar financing products offered by DBJ, please contact Mr. Travell Mullings, the Relationship Executive of DBJ’s Channels, Relationship and Marketing Division.
876-505-4630| 876-929-4000 (Ext. 4117)