Kingston, Jamaica hybrid project to harness sun and wind

July 19, 2014 by Nancy Owano

A hybrid energy project in Kingston, Jamaica, aims to satisfy the need for money-saving renewable energy. U.S.-based WindStream Technologies recently announced the wind solar hybrid installation commissioned on the rooftop of a Kingston, Jamaica, law firm. The WindStream Technologies installation consists of 50 WindStream SolarMill units, designed to harness available wind and solar resources. As an urban installation, the challenge has been to come up with a system that can maximize energy production and ROI within the confines of limited roof space. Each SolarMill provides the highest energy density currently available in the renewable market, said the release. The installation is less than a quarter-mile from the Kingston coastline and can typically experience winds gusting as high as 60mph. This installation will generate approximately 106,000kWh of renewable energy annually for the firm with a return on investment of less than four years and will save the firm approximately $2 million dollars over the course of its 25-year lifetime.

WindStream Technologies Chief Operating Officer Travis Campbell said in a telephone interview.with Bloomberg Businessweek, "We want to give those customers a chance to make renewable without everything becoming a science project." According to the press release, he said, "This SolarMill installation is an excellent model for other businesses to follow. If you are interested in energy efficiency and saving money, SolarMills are a simple, cost-effective solution." The SolarMill installation in Kingston is part of a larger effort by Jamaica Public Service (JPS), said the announcement, to provide greater access to solutions in a country where the cost of energy is over three times the US average. (In January this year, Jamaica Observer reported that Jamaica's high energy cost and power infrastructure ranked it next to Haiti or 112th globally, according to The Global Energy Architecture Performance Index Report 2014 published by the World Economic Forum [WEF]).

The SolarMill is a new distributed energy technology which involves Vertical Axis Wind Turbines (VAWT), solar panels and proprietary "smart" electronics. The on-board electronics have temperature sensors that prevent the system from over voltage. The system is designed to be a solution for more consistent energy generation than would be possible with a wind-only or solar-only design. Daily and seasonal trends of wind and solar resources are all mitigated, said the company, by capturing both at any time of the day or year. The SolarMill incorporates three vertical axis wind turbines with P.V. technology within a compact footprint.

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Energy can be stored on or off the grid; energy generated by each SolarMill can be used off grid with a storage system or inverted for use in grid-tied applications, said the release.

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