St. Kitts eyes solar manufacturing plant, next low-income homes to be constructed will be powered by green energy

Minister of Public Utilities and Energy, the Hon. Dr. Earl Asim Martin (Photo by Erasmus Williams)

BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS,MAY 30TH 2012 (CUOPM) – Plans to set up a solar panel manufacturing plant in St. Kitts are ongoing and Minister of Housing and Energy, the Hon. Dr. Earl Asim Martin said the next set of low-income homes constructed island wide by the National Housing Corporation (NHC) will be electrified by solar energy.

In an interview with the Communications Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister (CUOPM), Dr. Martin disclosed that the Government of the Republic of China (Taiwan) will provide assistance in purchasing solar panels which will be incorporated in the new housing developments expected to get underway shortly.

“This will assist in reducing the cost of electricity for those households that will experience the first phase of solar panels that will be installed during the construction of the new homes,” Dr. Martin disclosed.

Construction of the solar-powered low income homes will be island wide, but Dr. Martin pointed out that there are still a number of homes to be built under the Housing Solution 500 homes programme.

“We were only able to complete 370 plus homes. The additional 120 plus homes are to be built in various locations and we hope to complete this phase of the Housing Solutions 500 homes programme before going into a new phase. Those additional homes will be outfitted with the solar panels and as we move into more home construction then the solar panel system will be incorporated in the new housing projects,” said Dr. Martin.

He said discussions are taking place with SKELEC in the reorganization of their metering and billing systems so that the new solar-energized housing projects will be incorporated into the electricity company where the meters will be changed and a net-metering process where persons will be able to sell to the St. Kitts Electricity Company (SKELEC) thus leading to a reduction of their own electricity bill.

“As we move on we will gradually expand that to not only NHC constructed homes but other new or existing homeowners who would want to get involved in the process will be able to do so via the new Taiwan Company and SKELEC,” said Dr. Martin.

He disclosed that his Ministry is in discussions with a Taiwanese company with a view to manufacture solar panels in St. Kitts for the local and Caribbean markets.

“We expect a visit by company officials next month and we will have further discussions with her in bringing a portion of that company to St. Kitts that will manufacture solar panels not only to be sold in St. Kitts and Nevis but also in the wider Eastern Caribbean market,” said Dr. Martin.

He said the use of the LED street lighting system on the Kim Collins Highway and on the road to Frigate Bay from the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) to Sugars will result in a reduction in the consumption of SKELEC-generated electricity using fossil fuel.

The lighting system will be computerized and be handled by a main system at the SKELEC at Needsmust.

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