Lethem solar farm to soon be commissioned

Residents of Lethem, Region Nine will soon benefit from a one-megawatt solar farm which is expected to provide more reliable and clean energy for the township.

The construction of the solar farm is part of government’s push to move away from the use of fossil fuel, and resort to renewable energy.

Chief Executive Officer, Guyana Energy Agency (GEA), Dr. Mahender Sharma

Chief Executive Officer of the Guyana Energy Agency (GEA), Dr. Mahender Sharma made the disclosure during a recent site visit.  He was accompanied by Non-Resident Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Kingdom of Norway to Guyana, H.E Odd Magne Ruud, a representative from the Inter-American Development Bank and Minister of Amerindian Affairs, Pauline Sukhai, M.P.

“We anticipate this site will be in a state of readiness for commissioning just about the end of this month. We have to work out some logistics because this is one of two sites that we are constructing at the same time. There is a similar site at Bartica 1.5 megawatts and this forms a suite of projects being financed by the IDB,” the CEO stated.

Dr. Sharma said when the project comes on stream, it will displace about 3,000 barrels of diesel or 26 percent of the energy the Lethem Power Company utilises per year.

“Government’s programme is following a low carbon development trajectory. You may be familiar with the gas to energy project 300 megawatts, you may be familiar with the 165-megawatt Amaila Fall Hydro Project. Those are two major transformational projects and those projects will be complemented by a suit of solar farms,” he said.

Other solar farms being established include a 0.65 megawatt at Mahdia, Region Eight and a 0.6 megawatt at Leguan in Region Three. A 400-kilowatt farm has been completed in Mabaruma.

The solar farm in Lethem

Government is actively pursuing the installation of eight solar farms at various locations that will accrue a total 33 megawatts of power. Guyana will at the end of three years have a total of 14 solar farms to service several communities.

The CEO said government is also working on installing 28 solar mini grids that will serve government, community and public buildings in a number of hinterland regions. He noted that some of those have already been awarded and are under construction.

Dr. Sharma also highlighted that government is working with the Government of India to install 30,000 solar home systems for the hinterland.

“This project is out for initial tendering. They need to identify a short list of suppliers after which, we will do a request for proposals to move that forward,” he stated.

Despite Guyana becoming an oil and gas producing nation, government has been taking all necessary steps to move away from the use of fossil fuel and incorporate renewable energy through an energy mix. That energy mix will include solar, wind, hydro and natural gas.

In October 2021, President, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali launched the renewed and expanded Low-Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) 2030. The strategy is still in the draft stages as countrywide consultations are ongoing.

Since the development of Guyana’s first LCDS in 2009, the country has maintained more than 99.5 percent of its 18 million hectares of forest. Guyana also boasts one of the lowest deforestation rates in the world, having the capacity to store about 19.5 billion tonnes of carbon-monoxide.