Leading the Region in Sustainable Energy Research, Innovation and Education 

The Discovery Bay Marine Laboratory (DBML) of The University of the West Indies (The UWI) Mona campus is known globally as a hub of ground-breaking marine and coastal ecosystem research and education. With the installation of an upgraded microgrid system, it has become the region’s centre of excellence for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency research, innovation and education.

This upgrade was facilitated through a financing agreement signed with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and funded by the European Union (EU) as part of its commitment to developing CARICOM’s sustainable energy capacity. The newly-established Microgrid Training Centre features a 40 kW microgrid system and battery back-up in addition to a SCADA system with supporting infrastructure. 

The installation of this technology establishes the DBML at The UWI, Mona as the premier teaching, research and testing centre for renewable base microgrid technology in the Northern Caribbean. Students enrolled in the university’s Environmental Physics and Alternative Energy courses are able to use the facility as a teaching, research and testing centre for SMART grid technology. 

As part of The UWI’s mission to advance inclusive development and the EU’s dedication to investment in education and capacity development in CARICOM, strategies and programmes to position The UWI’s Cave Hill and St Augustine campuses for solar thermal technology and e-mobility, respectively, are being identified with support from the Caribbean Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (CCREEE).

Discovery Bay at a glance

The Discovery Bay Marine Lab of The University of West Indies’ Mona campus previously had 2 Solar PV Systems installed:

10kW PV System and System 2, and 10kW PV System with a power generation capacity of approximately 4,400 kWh per month. That system has been upgraded with the integration of a 40 kW micro-grid system with battery back-up. The system is now expected to generate 96,349 kWh/year: 41,642kW from the existing 30kW and 54,707kW from the newly-installed 40kW.

Savings from the 40-kW plant will approximate US$14,300 per year. The upgraded system also mitigates between 90 to 100 metric tonnes of CO2 per year, assisting with reducing the laboratory’s carbon footprint.

Impact

  • As a Centre of Excellence, the UWI Mona campus’s DBML facilitates practical teaching and research space for sustainable energy technologies.
  • All of CARICOM will benefit from research and training opportunities emerging from the Centre of Excellence.
  • Through the micro-grid system, the DBML’s overall prominence increases as carbon emissions decrease while providing reliable energy supply during shortages in renewable energy sources.
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