Hinterland solar home installation programme to begin early 2023

Over 136,000 people in hinterland and riverine communities will benefit from government’s solar home energy systems in the first quarter of 2023. This includes the installation of 30,000 – 150 watts solar panels, and provision of batteries and lighting kits.

Chief Executive Officer of the Guyana Energy Agency, Dr. Mahender Sharma, during his presentation on day two of the National Toshaos Conference (NTC) at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre, said the programme is being funded by a US$7.2 million line of credit agreement by the Government of India.

Chief Executive Officer of the Guyana Energy Agency, Dr. Mahender Sharma

“We are advanced with this. There is a process with the Exim Bank, they had to go out for expressions of interest, then they had to evaluate those expressions of interest, they had to shortlist and then from the short list, we have to provide them the documents to provide their proposals. So, we are at that stage now, we are awaiting their approval on the RFP document. Soon after, we will pass it on to the companies that were shortlisted,” the CEO stated.

Government is also embarking on an aggressive solar farm programme in the hinterland. There is already a 0.4-megawatt solar farm that is up and running in Mabaruma, Region One. The 1.5-megawatt solar farm in Bartica, Region Seven is near completion after several setbacks due to logistics issues as a result of the  COVID-19 pandemic.

In Lethem, Region Nine, Dr Sharma said the one -megawatt solar farm is final evaluation stage and is expected to be fully online early next week.

“Lethem will actually be 100 per cent renewable energy powered with the one-megawatt solar farm, the 0.7-megawatt hydro and the 1.5 megawatt at Kumu. Kato, we have a 150 megawatt that we are about to complete so that should be operational by the end of this year.”

Very soon, 33 megawatt solar farms will be established in Regions Two, Five, Six and 10. Beneficiary communities include Charity, Trafalgar, Prospect, Hampshire, Onderneeming, Block 37, Retrieve and Dacoura.

Further, government has completed the installation of nine solar powered mini-grids in Yarakita and Hotoquai, (Region One), Akawini, Bethany and Kabakaburi, (Region Two), Chinoweng and Phillipai, (Region Seven), Monkey Mountain, (Region Eight) and Achiwib, (Region Nine).

In addition, the GEA is working to install a number of mini-grids in several communities in Regions One, Two, Seven, Eight, Nine and 10.

“The GEA is implementing another programme to install 19 solar mini-grids to power public and community buildings costing some $718 million, and these will be completed by the end of this year. The contractor says to us October, so I am holding them to that, but we have been seeing lots of delays with shipping and so on so, by the end of this year is a good timeline,” he said.

Communities to benefit are: Baramita, Canal Bank, Haimacabra, Kwebanna, Karaburi, Sebai, Wakapoa, St Monica, Capoey, Tapakuma, Waramadong, Jawalla, Paruima, Kurukubaru, Karasabai, Aishalton, Karaudarnau, Annai and Riversview.

The initiatives being pursued by government are commitments outlined in its manifesto to provide affordable, stable and reliable energy to benefit both households and businesses.

The NTC is being held under the theme ‘Good governance and Fast-tracking Amerindian Development.’