The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries is on a major drive to increase the use of solar energy to power its irrigation schemes across the island, in order to reduce operational expenditure and the reliance on fossil fuels.
Portfolio Minister, Floyd Green, said it is anticipated that within the next two years, irrigation systems operated by the National Irrigation Commission (NIC) Limited will be run by solar technology.
He noted that, already, significant savings has been realised from the installation of the first large-scale solar photovoltaic system at the Bengal pump station in Trelawny, which was commissioned into service in January 2020.
The system is expected to reduce the annual energy cost at the facility by $3 million.
“We recognised that as much as we seek to improve irrigation supply, our ability to provide efficiently and at minimum cost is critical. In fact, we are targeting solar energy plants. We already started with a plant in Trelawny. I know we have started the work in relation to Hounslow in St. Elizabeth and we expect, over the next two years, that all our schemes will be powered by solar energy,” Green said.