MBJ in­vests in so­lar to slash en­ergy bill

Jamaica Gleaner - - FINANCE - Busi­ness@glean­erjm.com

MBJ AIR­PORTS Lim­ited, which man­ages Sang­ster In­ter­na­tional Air­port, SIA, ex­pects to re­duce its elec­tric­ity bill by 11 per cent through a US$1.2-mil­lion ($170-mil­lion) so­lar en­ergy project.

It’s one of the es­sen­tial cap­i­tal projects to be pur­sued by the op­er­a­tor of Ja­maica’s largest air­port, while other capex plans are moth­balled due to the eco­nomic fall­out aris­ing from COVID-19. A sep­a­rate on­go­ing cap­i­tal project aims to in­crease the air­port’s re­tail space by 50 per cent by March 2021.

MBJ Air­ports said the 1.0MW so­lar plant would be in­stalled on the main de­par­ture ter­mi­nal or east­ern con­course roof. Over time, the air­port plans to in­crease so­lar ca­pac­ity to 3.0MW, which it projects would chop its light bill by 33 per cent.

That project would in­stall pan­els in the ex­ist­ing park­ing ar­eas, but no time­line was given for that phase of the project.

MBJ said the so­lar project is meant to re­duce the SIA’s re­liance on power from the na­tional elec­tric­ity grid, and re­duce its op­er­at­ing costs and car­bon foot­print. The Mex­i­can owned air­port op­er­a­tor ex­pects to re­coup its in­vest­ment in about six years.

Der­il­lion En­ergy Ja­maica Lim­ited, which won the con­tract for the 1MW project, is a con­sor­tium of Reil En­ergy from Ja­maica and Aten Group from the United King­dom. It be­gan work­ing last month and is ex­pected to com­plete the job in eight months.

Man­ag­ing Direc­tor of Reil En­ergy Ben­jamin Da­ley told the Fi­nan­cial Gleaner that, ini­tially, 30 per­sons would be em­ployed in phase one, and that the num­bers would grow to 40 dur­ing phase two, which in­volves the electro­mechan­i­cal works.

“The panel per­for­mance guar­an­tee is 25 years, but they will keep pro­duc­ing af­ter that,” said Da­ley of the ex­pected sav­ings to

MBJ.

As for the other ma­jor project, it in­volves the ren­o­va­tion of MBJ cor­po­rate of­fices and con­struc­tion of 2,700 square me­tres of new re­tail space, ren­o­va­tion of over 4,000 square me­tres of space to cre­ate 15 re­tail units, a large lounge and food court. The job was awarded to ZDA Con­struc­tion Lim­ited, which be­gan con­struc­tion works on March 1. The project is sched­uled to last one year to March 2021.

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