Solar might just be the answer to our energy problem, but in order to know, we need to ask ourselves a few simple

  1.  Do I know exactly what JPS is charging me for?
  2.  Do I know the exact amount of energy my appliances are consuming?
  3.  Does my house meet the requirements for the installation of a solar system? For example; is my roof in good condition? Is part of the roof shadowed at any time during the course of the day?
  4.  What is the cost of a solar/ photovoltaic (PV) system?
  5.  How am I going to get funding for the project?
  6.  Which system would be more cost effective and better suited to my situation; a stand-alone system where I am independent of JPS or a grid-tied system where my photovoltaic system is synchronized with JPS and both work in tandem.
We at Solar Buzz Jamaica do believe that Solar is one of the best and cheapest alternatives presently available to us here
in Jamaica. However, we have noticed that in some cases it is not cost-effective for small homes and businesses to go solar. Based on the investments incurred for a solar system, the monthly JPS bill just may be cheaper, in other words the payback period may take years. Therefore, we recommend that no one should go blindly into installing PV systems without a proper energy assessment done on their home or building.
If we back track in November 2012 to the advice of the first official net billing JPS customer Mr. Gordon Lawrence, who
has had his solar system installed since 2008. He said, “Don’t rush into buying panels and inverters.  You can carry out an energy audit in your home or office.  First, you want energy efficient appliances and lighting.  For example, an inverter
refrigerator will reduce your load by 20%.  Incandescent bulbs must be the first thing to go.  Some countries have already
banned these devices as they produce more heat than light.” To effectively save energy you need to be aware of your exact usage, you need to know which appliances are “killing” you and which ones are working efficiently.This is why we at Solar Buzz believe it is vital to have an energy audit done on your home or building first or you can self-monitor your energy usage in order to know which equipment and appliances need changing or upgrading.

When your home or building has become efficient in its energy usage, meaning that all the equipment, appliances, lighting etc. are in optimum condition and the least amount of energy is being wasted, depending on your monthly JPS bill, we then make reassessments to see whether the implementation of a Photovoltaic system as a second phase would be beneficial.  In some cases it might not be because the payback period on the solar system would take too long, where as in some cases it might be favorable.

There are many advantages in attacking your energy problem with the methods mentioned above, for example; your bill might be reduced to acceptable figures which makes installing a PV system pointless. But this will depend on your energy audit assessment to see if it is practical to go solar. The sizing of your solar system depends greatly on the energy demand of your home or building. So if you are being efficient with your energy usage the size of your potential solar system would be reduced as opposed to an inefficient energy consuming home or building. Hence, you will be able to save more money on installing a smaller more efficient system and have additional funds to invest in other productive endeavors.

Luganis Daniel
Energy Operations Manager
Solar Buzz Jamaica