News and Highlights
USAID Hosted Round Table, Montego Bay
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) hosted a round table in Montego Bay on April 7, 2022, to discuss progress on USAID’s Strengthening Energy Sector Resilience in Jamaica (SESR-Jamaica) program and its efforts to engage with national stakeholders, trade associations, and key collaborators to accelerate solar uptake. The meeting was held with Ms. Gillian Caldwell, USAID's Chief Climate Officer, during her visit to Jamaica. Participants included Mr. Gerard Fontain and Mr. Alex Gainer from USAID, the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA), represented by President, Mr. Clifton Reader and Executive Director, Ms. Camille Needham, and Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association (JMEA) Board Member, Ms. Kareema Muncey, as well as personnel from the Cadmus Group, the lead implementor of the USAID SESR program. After a program overview, discussions focused on how to better support institutions in emerging economies with access to financing mechanisms from donors.
Members of JMEA and JHTA shared insights into how SESR can support increased use of solar in the hospitality, manufacturing, and export sectors. The two industry associations highlighted a need for more innovative financing and ownership models for solar PV systems in business settings, particularly for small and medium enterprises. JMEA and JHTA also noted ways that Jamaica’s current policy and regulatory structure can be a barrier to increased solar uptake. Participants consistently highlighted the need for mobilizing private sector financing to achieve solar PV uptake in Jamaica, which SESR is designed to support. Of particular interest was the participation in the roundtable discussion by Mr. Panna Utpaul, Regional Manager for Playa Group Hotels & Resorts, Mr. Kyle Mais, General Manager at Jamaica Inn, Mr. Robin Russel, General Manager at Deja Resorts, and Ms. Kareema Muncey, CEO of Home Enterprises Ltd., who collectively emphasized the critical importance of solar to reduce costs, reduce carbon emissions, and overall increase sustainability efforts. All parties emphasized and recognized the importance of public-private collaborative action to help move towards mass scale solar PV in the Jamaican private sector, especially given Jamaica’s geographical vulnerability to the impacts of climate change.