My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: ScotiaBank and VMBS now offering Alternative Energy Loans - Rise of the Guardians to make Solar Power affordable to Jamaicans

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Thursday, October 18, 2012

ScotiaBank and VMBS now offering Alternative Energy Loans - Rise of the Guardians to make Solar Power affordable to Jamaicans


Every so often I become an Accidental Tourist. That’s when I wander somewhere I shouldn’t and end up learning something I was not supposed to take an interest in. Whenever that happens, I do a blog article.

This one is about a more recent development with Jamaica’s Local banks, who are not beginning to offer very attractive loans for Alternative Energy installations as noted in the article “Financial institutions take aim with green energy loans”, published Sunday, October 14, 2012 By Nekiesha Reid Business reporter, The Jamaica Observer

I suspect that may be a follow on to the recent announcement of the MOU between JPS Co (Jamaica Public Service Company) and UTECH (University of Technology) to build a 100KW Photovoltaic system on Campus, the largest single installation to date in Jamaica and possibly the Caribbean as noted in my blog article entitled JPS Co to build 100 KW Solar Plant at UTECH - Marubeni of Japan and EWP (East West Power) Benevolence as LNG Project now Taken 2 the next Level for 2015AD

To more specific, not all of the Big Three Banks, albeit one of them was there; Bank of Nova Scotia aka Scotia Bank, VMBS (Victoria Mutual Building Society) and newcomer Nation Growth Microfinance Limited, a micro-financing company. They now join the following list of financial institutions offering Alternative Energy loans:

1.      DBJ (Development Bank of Jamaica) – started the ball rolling
2.      Capital and Credit Financial Group
3.      C&WJCCU (Cable and Wireless Jamaica Co-Operative Credit Union)
4.      National People’s Co-Operative Bank
5.      National EX-IM (Export-Import) Bank,
6.      Jamaica Money Market Brokers
7.      Capital Credit Merchant Bank

I’m involved, as on Friday October 12th 2012, I happened to saunter across from New Kingston into Emancipation Park, the slowly falling apart due to lack of maintenance Green space just outside of New Kingston proper. I say sauntered, as I was on my way towards the Downtown Bus Stop but decided to take the shortcut.

Fateful accident, as I walked in on the DBJ (Development Bank of Jamaica) Energy Conference, an annual showcase put on to give Alternative Energy Contractors a chance to have a public Open House on Alternative or Renewable Energy Solutions such as:

1.      Solar Water Heaters
2.      Solar Panel Installations
3.      Wind Turbine Installations
4.      LED Light bulbs and fixtures

At this point I must comment that only one contractor on hand featured a Wind Turbine as a product appeared to be a FDI (foreign Direct investor. It was a vertical Wind Turbine Design that is sure to catch on Jamaica, especially people living on the Coastal Areas. Strangely too, none of them had a full scale model of a complete Renewable Energy Solution in a house-like setting, to give visitors a practical example of what such a system installation looks like or what it’s capable of powering.

Also, no research is ongoing in Jamaica among Local Alternative Energy companies to develop better Wind Turbine Designs or alternative ways of Tapping the suns energy, such as Solar Concentrators or even Solar Wind Turbines that use Sunlight to turn a Turbine as prognosticated in my blog article entitledAlternative Energy and the Solar Generator - Pitch Black”. More on Solar Wind Turbines in a later article.

Just lots of Documents, Business Cards and Technical-speak to an audience that was mostly single males, mainly Power Engineers and JPS Co Staff, based on their work shoes and mannerisms atypical of Power Engineering folk. The Ministry of Science, Technology Energy and Mining had their own booth, with the Minister of Science, Technology Energy and Mining on hand to represent on hand.

The NHT (National Housing Trust), the original pioneers in terms of offering financing for Alternative Energy mortgages to existing NHT housing units, was also there in their own little booth. I was surprised that the Ministry of Labour and Social Security was not on hand to demonstrate how they were able to lower their Energy and Utility usage by JA$9 million as pointed out in my blog article entitledMinistry of Labour and Social Security JA$9 Million Energy Savings - Mad Money for Happy Workers”.

Ironically, it was those Local Banks that had partnered with an Alternative Energy contractor to be at the Conference that had full blown houses mock-ups to demonstrate how a Solar Power System was installed and give a diagrammatic display of what a typical system could power.
These Latecomers to the Alternative Energy Game were offering Residential and Commercial loans for Alternative Energy Solutions Loans.

Local you say? Offering loans for Residential and Commercial loans for Alternative Energy Solutions? Yes Local Banks; to be precise, the following oddball couples:

1.      Scotia Bank partnered with Alternative Energy contractor Iree Solar
2.      Nation Growth Microfinance Limited partnered with Alternative Energy contractor New Leaf
3.      VMBS partnered with Alternative Energy contractor ConserveIt

It’s thus good to see that so many new financial entities have joined with the GOJ and the NHT to begin offering financial assistance in getting Alternative Energy gear into the hands or ordinary Jamaicans. Not everyone is like Mr. Paul Chong, a retired business man from St Mary with JA$5 million to build a Solar System as noted in the article “Off the grid - St Mary man turns to wind energy”, published Wednesday, October 26, 2011 BY ALESIA EDWARDS Observer staff reporter, The Jamaica Observer.

Waivers on import duties for Photovoltaic Panels, Wind Turbines and other Alternative Energy components are what’s needed to encourage more Jamaicans to afford to invest what’s effectively a second mortgage to go off the Grid as concluded by my blog article entitledLack of Waivers for Expensive Alternative Energy Gear -  Mr. Paul Chong's Adoption Contradiction”.

Such waivers would then encourage investors to come to Jamaica and via these financial entities, set up their own PUC (Power Utility Companies) based on renting Solar Panels and Wind Turbines to Residential customer as described in my blog article entitledAlternative Energy and Residential Solar Power - The Social Network” and “Alternative Energy and Distributed AEPP - The GoldenEye Talk Shop”.

This would make installations such as even the one at Minister Philip Paulwell’s house, which makes extra income for him by reselling electricity via a Net Metering arrangement as reported in my blog article entitledPhillip Paulwell makes Net Billing official with 11 licenses issued - JPS Co invited via Mavado's Come Round a Mi Yard” more common place.

In turn, such waivers would make it easier for not only ordinary people to go off the grid. FDI (Foreign Direct Investors) would also find it easier to set up in Jamaica in the Energy Sector that Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining is trying to liberate, as stated in my blog article entitled “JPS Co parents Marubeni and EWP mull decision to supply LNG - GOJ to eat Humble Pie to avoid an Ice Age Continental Drift”, starting with an LNG (Liquid Natural Gas) Deal with JPS Co (Jamaica Public Service Company).

Already news of the commencement of Solamon Corporation of Canada 60 Acre Solar Farm that was to straddle three (3) parishes and Green Energy RG plans to produce Solar power Gear in Jamaica as stated in my blog article entitled “Solamon Energy Corp & Green RG invest in Jamaica's Alternative Energy Future - Let the Cheaper Energy Hunger Games for Latin America Begin” has gone cold in the Media and the minds of Jamaicans.

As lamented in my blog article entitled my blog article entitledLack of Waivers for Expensive Alternative Energy Gear -  Mr. Paul Chong's Adoption Contradiction”, incentives in the way of Waivers and Tax breaks would actually go a long way to make Energy Sector Liberalization a reality. Ditto too for importation of All-Electric Vehicles and support for investors in the Bio-Fuel Sector in Jamaica as noted in my blog article entitledATL Automotive to benefit from Low-Sulphur Diesel in 12 Months Time - Bio-Fuels Resident Evil Apocalypse”.

Truly, the GOJ needs to have a Rise of the Guardians (2012) in order to make Solar Power and Wind Energy more affordable to Jamaicans.
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