I’m excited about Jamaica’s burgeoning solar industry.  With year-round sunshine and a huge trade imbalance in imported fuels, it is a market primed for explosive PV growth.

But there’s a problem.  You see, a lot of people are excited about solar’s potential in Jamaica – perhaps too much.

What do I mean exactly?

As USSolar Institute’s President and Lead Instructor, I’ve had countless opportunities to visit Jamaica for trade shows, training sessions, and meetings with the country’s leadership.  On each trip, I was constantly amazed by some of the shoddy workmanship:

  • Untrained installers literally screwing solar panels into the roof (through the protective PV glass)
  • Novices using car batteries and jumper cables to connect their systems
  • Zero grounding, no protection, and a general disregard for safety guidelines or electrical codes

Now, this doesn’t apply to everyone.  In fact, countless USSolar Institute graduates take their training and certification back to Jamaica and launch very successful careers as they help their country transition to a solar economy.

But, there are enough examples of poor, rushed, and dangerous installations out there to give me pause.  It should give all of us pause since improperly installed systems reflect poorly on the entire industry.

Although my commitment to solar is absolute, ours is still an untested technology in the eyes of many.  To overtake coal, gas, and oil, our workmanship should be supreme… and consistently so.

Against the current backdrop, it is little wonder why Jamaica’s utility company (JPS) is so reluctant to embrace amateur installations into their network.  Faults, shorts, fires – these are the types of logistical nightmares that can take down an entire grid (or worse).

USSolar to Offer Training, Consultations, Parts, and More in Jamaica

This upcoming March, both Aaron and I will visit Jamaica as part of a larger USSolar tour throughout the Caribbean.  Working with a handful of soon-to-be dealers, USSolar alums, and clients (both residential and commercial system owners), our goal is to ensure safe, code-compliant installations ideally suited for the Caribbean market – a region known for high hurricane winds and salty humidity.

What this means is:

  • No cheap Chinese knockoffs that impress with price but disappoint in performance
  • No using voltage regulators instead of safe and tested charge controllers
  • Standardized overcurrent protection and strict electrical code compliance
  • Quality components that won’t corrode or wear down prematurely

By providing guidance on some of the first initial installations, we hope these models will serve as examples as Jamaica’s solar revolution continues to evolve.

If you’re thinking about installing a new solar PV system – especially a large or complex one – please contact us directly to register for our upcoming USSolar Jamaican Tour.

Spots are limited, so be sure to reserve a slot today.

In addition, don’t forget to check out the upcoming Alternative Energy Expo at Jamaica’s Wyndham Hotel, this April 21 and 22.  USSolar is the host and title sponsor for the event, and we’ll be featuring a range of new products and services that you won’t want to miss (including our Caribbean-compliant SolarEdge and OutBack Power solar PV components).

About USSolar Institute

USSolar Institute is a globally diversified solar energy corporation with headquarters in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and offices, dealers, and partners around the world.  USSolar remains dedicated to comprehensive solar education and consulting services by providing global construction management, engineering, and financing solutions for virtually any sized project or system need.