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Jamaican Government Approves Exemption Of GCT On Lithium-Ion Batteries



The House of Representatives on Tuesday (June 21) approved the General Consumption Tax (Amendment of Schedule) Order, 2022, Resolution, providing for the exemption of lithium-ion batteries from General Consumption Tax (GCT).

Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke, first announced the removal of GCT on the importation of lithium-ion batteries during his closing budget presentation in March.

Dr. Clarke said as the Government seeks to achieve accelerated and aggressive increases in renewable energy penetration, lithium-ion batteries will play a pivotal role in that energy transition, adding that they are also aligned with the policy of promotion of electric vehicles.

The Minister informed that its popularity has been growing as an energy storage technology.

Dr. Clarke explained that the Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology over the years has been in constant dialogue with his Ministry about the category of items that constitute and represent appropriate technology, for which the Government’s long-standing policy of promoting renewables would mean that they would be subject to a differential tax regime.

He said lithium-ion batteries were not among that list of about 14 items, “but technology has changed, and lithium-ion batteries are no longer only used in portable electronics, but now are increasingly being used in renewable technologies”.

“The Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology wrote to the Ministry of Finance outlining that the use of lithium-ion batteries is an appropriate technology to mitigate intermittence that some renewable energy solutions introduced to the grid and, further, that this technology is likely to remain the solution of choice,” the Minister noted.

Dr. Clarke said the Ministry of Finance, therefore, provided a ‘no objection’ letter for the common external tariff (CET) suspension, on 100,000 units of lithium-ion batteries, adding that this was approved by the CARICOM Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) for two years, which ended on April 3, 2021.

The Minister said at that time, no GCT exemption was provided on the batteries, noting that as the popularity of these batteries grew and continues to grow, there were no provisions in place for GCT relief on lithium-ion batteries for solar application, but only on photovoltaic batteries.

“Today the category is not just photovoltaic batteries that are used for renewables but also lithium-ion batteries. In order to rectify this, coupled with the recognition of the positive impact of using energy-efficient technologies to reduce the cost associated with the generation of electricity, the Ministry of Finance set out to exempt these batteries from GCT,” Dr. Clarke stated.

Additionally, the Ministry provided another no-objection letter to seek approval for a further suspension of the CET on 240,000 units of lithium-ion batteries from COTED for two years to end on December 31, 2023.

The revenue implications for granting the GCT exemption on lithium-ion batteries, based on 2019 data, reveal that GCT paid was in order of $193 million in that year.

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Businessuite Markets

Tropical Battery Acquires California-Based Rose Batteries



Tropical Battery Company Limited (JSE:TROPICAL), a leader in innovative energy solutions, is pleased to announce the strategic acquisition of Rose Electronics Distributing Company (Rose Batteries), based in San Jose, California, in the heart of Silicon Valley.

Founded in 1963, Rose Batteries is a manufacturer of specialized batteries for high value industries requiring critical power, including healthcare and aerospace. The company has built a solid reputation for the customized design and assembly of highly reliable batteries providing essential power and charging solutions to a broad range of B2B customers.

The company’s strength lies in its ability to cater to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), offering customized solutions that supply continuous power in challenging environments. Rose’s approach in providing tailor-made contract manufacturing solutions has redefined industry standards and garnered a loyal customer base supporting stable, recurring revenue streams.

The acquisition of Rose Batteries represents a significant milestone in Tropical Battery’s strategy of diversification into new complementary product lines, market segments and geographies, and reaffirms the company’s commitment to technological innovation and growth in the global energy market. The acquisition was completed through Tropical’s US subsidiary Tropical Battery USA LLC. The purchase price is subject to strict non-disclosure restrictions, however the price significantly exceeds 50% of the market capitalisation of Tropical.

The integration of Rose Batteries into the Tropical Battery group of companies represents much more than simply an expansion into the world’s largest economy; it’s a significant step forward in boosting technological capabilities, innovation potential, and key financial indicators. The acquisition is projected to materially enhance Tropical Battery’s free cash flow, improve its cash conversion cycle, and increase the return on capital, thereby enhancing shareholder value and financial strength.

Rose CEO Itamar Frankenthal, an influential shareholder who has led the company since 2016, will join Tropical Battery as a shareholder and board member, continuing his focus on growth opportunities in the United States. His extensive experience, shaped by his Harvard MBA journey, along with his transformative leadership at Rose, underscores the expertise and visionary approach he will bring to the Tropical Battery group of companies. Rose COO Chris Wunderlich will become the new CEO of Rose Batteries, bringing a rich blend of experience in management, engineering, operations, and technology.

Following the acquisition of Dominican Republic-based KAYA Energy Group in 2023, and now, the acquisition of Rose, Tropical Battery will focus on integrating and harmonizing these three dynamic organizations to leverage synergies, optimize costs, and explore new growth opportunities across various markets.

“This acquisition reaffirms our commitment to transforming Tropical Battery into a multinational organization at the vanguard of innovative growth in emerging segments driving the transition to more sustainable energy solutions,” commented Tropical Battery Managing Director Alexander Melville.

“The integration of Rose Batteries will position the Tropical Battery group of companies to offer even greater value to our customers and stakeholders than ever before. We are reinvigorated by this next chapter in our growth and passionate about enabling a more sustainable, technologically driven future in the energy sector, while strengthening our financial performance with the support of pioneers in the Caribbean financial services ecosystem like Sygnus Capital, which served as lead arranger in this transaction.”

“Sygnus Capital’s partnership with Tropical Battery for this transformative acquisition reinforces our commitment to delivering innovative solutions that drive the growth of medium-sized businesses throughout the Caribbean,” noted Gregory Samuels, Senior Vice President & Head of Investment Banking at Sygnus Capital Limited. “We believe in empowering local companies to acquire overseas assets, thereby boosting our country’s foreign exchange inflows. This move aligns with our focus on impactful and sustainable investments, while also deepening our longstanding relationship with a valued client, namely Tropical Battery’s holding company, Diverze Assets. Together, we pave the way for growth, innovation, and financial resilience in the energy sector,” Samuels added.

About Tropical Battery Company

Established in 1950, Tropical Battery has become a household name in premium energy solutions in the Caribbean. Listed on the Jamaica Stock Exchange in 2020, the company has diversified beyond its core car battery business into automotive care products, renewable energy and electric mobility as part of its transformation into a diversified energy group enabling sustainability with innovation, technology and exceptional service delivery.

About Rose Batteries

With over 60 years in business, Rose Batteries has emerged as a leading contract manufacturer of specialized batteries for high growth industries driving the adoption of cutting-edge technologies. The company’s dedication to innovation and sustainable practices has positioned it as a vital partner across several sectors, including healthcare, robotics, aerospace and telecommunications.

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Exploring the Path to Enhanced Transportation Efficiency in Jamaica



Jamaica stands at a critical juncture in transforming its transportation sector to achieve both economic resilience and sustainable development. Reflecting on the broader goals within the realms of energy efficiency and sustainability, it becomes imperative to examine the factors influencing Jamaica’s transportation efficiency. As an island nation with a high dependency on imported fossil fuels, Jamaica faces unique challenges that directly impact its transportation sector’s efficiency and sustainability.

External Economic Vulnerabilities

Being economically vulnerable to external factors, such as fluctuations in global energy prices, significantly influences Jamaica’s transportation sector. This vulnerability stems from an over-reliance on imported oil, making the cost of transportation susceptible to global oil market dynamics. Such dependencies not only increase the operational costs of transportation but also hinder efforts towards achieving efficiency and sustainability.

The volatility of oil prices directly impacts the operating costs for both public and private transportation modes, translating into higher fares for commuters and increased expenses for goods transportation. This scenario underscores the urgent need for Jamaica to diversify its energy sources and reduce dependency on imported oil.

Integrating renewable energy sources into the transportation sector could serve as a viable mitigative strategy. Utilizing Jamaica’s abundant renewable resources, such as solar and wind, could significantly reduce the dependency on fossil fuels, thereby insulating the transportation sector from external economic shocks and contributing to enhanced efficiency.

However, transitioning to renewable energy-powered transportation systems involves overcoming a range of structural, economic, and technical challenges. Investments in infrastructure, public awareness, and regulatory frameworks are essential to facilitate this transition.

Societal Consumption Patterns

Jamaica’s high consumption society profoundly impacts transportation efficiency. Choices in vehicular purchases, for instance, are seldom made with energy efficiency in mind. This inclination towards high-consumption models contributes to greater fuel use and increased greenhouse gas emissions, further straining the push towards transportation efficiency.

Addressing societal consumption patterns requires a shift in public perception and behavior towards transportation. Encouraging the adoption of energy-efficient vehicles through incentives and awareness campaigns could play a significant role in this regard. Additionally, promoting public transportation and non-motorized transport modes as viable and efficient alternatives could also help reduce the transportation sector’s overall energy footprint.

Furthermore, enhancing public awareness about the interconnectedness of lifestyle choices, energy consumption, and environmental impact is crucial. Education and outreach initiatives that highlight the benefits of energy-efficient transportation choices could foster a societal shift towards sustainability.

The Government of Jamaica’s role in championing energy efficiency via policy interventions, such as the National Energy Policy and the Vision 2030 Jamaica Plan, plays a pivotal role in steering society towards more sustainable consumption patterns. Regulatory instruments, alongside targets and incentives for energy efficiency, can provide a balanced mix of push and pull factors to drive efficiency improvements across the transportation sector.

Infrastructure and Technology

Infrastructure and technology advancements are pivotal for enhancing Jamaica’s transportation efficiency. The existing transportation infrastructure often does not support optimal energy use or facilitate the deployment of modern, energy-efficient technologies.

Investing in infrastructure modernization and maintenance can significantly reduce energy consumption in the transportation sector. Improvements in road quality, for example, can decrease fuel consumption by reducing vehicle wear and tear and travel times.

Adopting advanced transportation technologies such as electric vehicles (EVs) and implementing smart traffic management systems can also contribute to efficiency. However, such technological transitions require supportive infrastructure, including EV charging stations and integrated traffic management systems.

In conclusion, a multi-faceted approach encompassing policy interventions, societal shifts, and infrastructure and technological upgrades is essential for improving transportation efficiency in Jamaica. Addressing these key factors will not only contribute to reducing Jamaica’s carbon footprint but also pave the way towards a more resilient and sustainable transportation sector.

  • Economic vulnerabilities due to reliance on imported oil significantly impact transportation costs and efficiency.
  • Societal consumption patterns and preferences towards high-consumption vehicles impede efforts towards transportation efficiency.
  • Investments in infrastructure and technology are crucial for enabling the adoption of energy-efficient transportation solutions.
  • Government policy and regulatory frameworks play a pivotal role in driving the transition towards more efficient and sustainable transportation systems.

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Businessuite News24

70 Additional Buses Expected for The Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) By September 2023



The Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) is to receive 50 additional buses, 45 diesel and five electric, by month end.

Additionally, 20 compressed natural gas (CNG)-fuelled units will be added to the fleet under a joint arrangement with private-sector partners. These are expected by September.

Minister of Transport and Mining, Hon. Audley Shaw, made the disclosure during his contribution to the 2023/24 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on Wednesday (May 9).

“We are currently engaged in a Battery Electric Bus pilot project for the testing of six electric buses, which will evaluate the performance of these electric buses and form the basis for comparison to the diesel and compressed natural gas buses,” Mr. Shaw said.

“As a matter of fact, one electric bus is already in operation. As we take steps to address the number of seats needed to transport commuters, we are expecting to procure 200 electric buses over the next two years, among other initiatives being explored,” he added.

Mr. Shaw also informed that the JUTC has digitised its processes to facilitate application for charters and subfranchise licences, pointing out that an online portal was launched by the company in February this year.

He noted that this is a major step towards making the entity’s services more accessible and the processes more user-friendly.

“Persons who are interested in applying for charters or subfranchise licence may visit the JUTC’s website at and make the necessary arrangements and pay for the service online,” the Minister stated.

Meanwhile, Mr. Shaw said the current fare collection system used by the JUTC has become obsolete.

He informed that the procurement process for an upgraded Cashless Fare Collection System was significantly advanced; however, it was redirected for consideration by the Public Investment Appraisal Branch (PIAB).

“A pilot project where the system [is] operating on all the JUTC’s buses, at no cost to the people of Jamaica, is to be implemented. The outcome of this pilot will assist the process of review by the PIAB and further guide the way forward,” Mr. Shaw said.

Regarding the matter of fuel pilferage, the Minister noted that for more than two decades, the matter has been an issue for the JUTC.

“We are pursuing new methods to combat the innovative means by which thieves have been pilfering fuel. Without divulging too much, due to the sensitivity and security issues around this matter, we are working with a local company to introduce a technology-based solution that will assist us in detecting, locating, and tracking fuel theft where it occurs,” Mr. Shaw indicated.

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Businessuite News24

GSI SKN Inc and US-based NABCEP launch Caribbean hub for solar energy training



Photo caption: From left, Shawn O’Brien, President and CEO, NABCEP and Dr. Wayne E. Archibald, Executive Director, Green Solutions International SKN Incorporated (GSI) at the recent signing

On 27th March this year Dr. Wayne E. Archibald, Executive Director, Green Solutions International SKN Incorporated (GSI), signed an exclusive international partnership agreement with Shawn O’Brien, President and CEO of the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners® (NABCEP®) to establish NABCEP Caribbean, the first regional hub for solar energy training and development throughout the Caribbean region as well as the US Virgin Islands.

NABCEP credentials are a voluntary certification that provides a set of national standards by which photovoltaic (PV) professionals with skills and experience can distinguish themselves from the competition. Certification gives a measure of protection to the consumer by furnishing them with a credential against which they can assess the competency of PV practitioners.

GSI will serve as NABCEP’s regional partner for the solar energy industry in the Caribbean. Increased access to NABCEP’s PV training programmes and certification will enhance PV human resource capacities and build consumer confidence, leading to greater investment in the industry. NABCEP’s PV Installation Professional (PVIP®) Certification is accredited to the internationally recognised ISO/IEC 17024 by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

At the signing, Dr. Archibald stated, “I am pleased to sign this new agreement with our valued partner, NABCEP, to strengthen our capacity-building and workforce development programmes in the region.

This agreement represents a significant milestone that will raise the standard for solar installations and maintenance, and increase employability opportunities for talented, qualified Caribbean nationals in one of the fastest growing industries, regionally and worldwide.”

NABCEP Board certifications can positively impact PV technicians’ careers through improved marketability, validation of knowledge, and enhanced reputation and credibility. GSI will work closely with the private and public sectors to establish partnerships with Caribbean colleges, universities, and government institutions to integrate the NABCEP concept into regional renewable energy programmes.

Recently, GSI was contracted by the Caribbean Development Bank to spearhead the “OECS Photovoltaic
Training and Certification Programme” in PV installation and inspection for 250 persons from Antigua and Barbuda, the Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. This was the most significant PV training and certification programme held in the Caribbean to date.

In 2021, UNDP Guyana also contracted GSI to deliver the NABCEP Solar Photovoltaic Training and Certification for the Solar PV Associate Course and the System Inspector Certification Course for 25 persons. GSI was tasked with developing a curriculum for Solar PV Installation, Maintenance and Repairs using the Power Generation Stand-by Level 1 and/or Power Line Construction and Maintenance Distribution Level 1 standards under the “Mainstreaming Low Emission Energy Technologies to Build Guyana’s Green Economy” project.

Last year, GSI, in partnership with the Cadmus Group LLC, a global climate and energy consulting firm in the USA, and The University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, Jamaica, coordinated the Workforce Development and Training programme for “Strengthening Energy Sector Resilience in Jamaica.” This is a US$4 million, three-year project led by USAID/Jamaica and the Jamaica Energy Resilience Alliance (JERA).

Building on these successes and now with more than 750 persons trained across the region, the establishment of NABCEP Caribbean will further increase demand for internationally certified solar energy qualifications. “We are excited to partner with GSI in supporting renewable energy education in the Caribbean,” said Shawn O’Brien, NABCEP’s President and CEO. “With year-round sunshine, motivated learners and quality training, the Caribbean has all the right ingredients to produce the energised workforce needed in the region. The NABCEP Caribbean Program solidifies our combined commitment to the industry and the ongoing and mutually beneficial relationships that will lead us into the next generation of solar empowerment.”

Adding her support to the launch of this initiative, Judith Ephraim, Programme Director – Sustainable Energy, Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Commission, commented, “We’re seeing a trend towards low or zero-carbon sources of energy, as well as distributed generation and autonomy in energy production in the Caribbean. Organisations like GSI are paving the way in supporting a cadre of homegrown energy professionals that will take the region forward in meeting its energy and sustainable development goals.”

GSI is a non-governmental organisation and a premier provider of green energy solutions across the Caribbean. Its mission is to help the region become 100% sustainable through innovation, education, workforce training, and clean energy development. Its highly experienced team serves as an intellectual hub for learning, networking, and innovation across the region in all areas of green technology.

To sign up for NABCEP programmes in the Caribbean, visit; email; or call (+1 876) 559 2515.

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Tesla Will Continue To Cut Prices On Its Electric Vehicles To Push For Higher Volumes



Elon Musk indicated Tesla will continue to cut prices on its electric vehicles to push for higher volumes, even after the company took significant hit to profit due to markdowns. The news comes after several rounds of price cuts already this year, prompting speculation over whether the strategy comes from a position of weakness or strength. While Tesla is still the top seller of EVs, high borrowing costs and competition have meant its growth has slowed dramatically. “They’re going to use the room in their margin to create more demand,” Ben Kallo, an analyst at Robert W. Baird, said in a Bloomberg Television interview.

Tesla reported first-quarter earnings that missed analyst estimates after a series of aggressive price cuts squeezed profit margins. Profit excluding some items fell to 85 cents a share, slightly below the 86-cent average of estimates compiled by Bloomberg. The Austin, Texas-based electric-vehicle maker has been slashing prices in an effort to stay ahead of rivals. The company’s stock slid more than 4.5% on the news.

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