Jamaican university seeks to improve energy and cost savings via solar power and energy efficiency measures

Photovoltaic panels line the roof of the Engineering Department at the University of Technology, Jamaica., Image via Jamaica Observer
Energy
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A solar power system installed at the University of Technology Jamaica has saved the university money and reduced its carbon footprint:

In the three-and-a-half years since it has been using solar power to supplement its energy needs on campus, the University of Technology, Jamaica (UTech) has managed to save US$126,000 or J$16 million.

But that’s just a drop in the bucket, according to associate vice-president, sustainable energy, Dr Ruth Potopsingh.

As she explains it, the 100 kW system that was commissioned in June 2014 produces on average seven MWh of energy per month, which is less than one per cent of the university’s needs.

“It’s a very, very tiny fraction of what we use,” she told the Jamaica Observer yesterday.

“Our electricity bills are between $15 and $20 million per month. That is why we have been utilising energy conservation across the campus and we have plans to do some energy efficiency as well,” she added.

Dr Potopsingh, who is also head of Caribbean Sustainable Energy and Innovation Institute at UTech, revealed that the university has plans to build a higher capacity photovoltaic (PV) system, but she declined giving details.

The current system was installed by utility provider Jamaica Public Service with the intention of not only reducing the university’s electricity consumption and bills, but also to provide research and teaching opportunities for faculty and students.

In addition to the financial savings the PV system has yielded, Dr Potopsingh pointed out that, over the period, the university’s use of a renewable energy source has prevented 247 tonnes of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere.

Read more from the Jamaica Observer.

[Image via Jamaica Observer]

Your title is incorrect. Renewable energy (RR) is a source, or generation, it does not save energy. It is may correct to say RE saves energy cost for the facility or customer; or that is displaces fosil fuel generation, or saves carbon emissions. But not correct to say RE per se saves energy. Energy saving is in realm of energy efficiency or conservation.

Need to get it right in order to keep knoledgeable practitioners interested and for them to cobtinue reading.

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