Over $1.5B budgeted for solar electricity in Amerindian communities

−as Government expands affordable, reliable energy

The Government of Guyana intends to advance its plans to diversify the energy sector this year, setting aside $1.540 billion in its National Budget for solar energy development in Amerindian communities.

Senior Minister in the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, Hon. Dr. Ashni Singh told the National Assembly on Friday that $840 million has been set aside for solar farms to be installed at Mahdia and Leguan, and work will continue on those at Bartica and Lethem.

This sum will also cover the cost of two mini-hydropower plants, at Kumu and Moco Moco, which will be tendered this year and construction will start. Substantial work is also set to be done on the 150KW Kato Hydro Project, which is expected to be completed this year.

The remaining $700 million will cater for the installation of 10 mini-grids and four off-grid systems, to provide 5,305 KWh of electricity to several Amerindian communities.

The 1.472 KW of installed solar capacity will generate 5,305 KWh of electricity to serve villages including Karaburi and Sebai (Region One,) Capoey, St. Monica, and Whyaka, (Region Two), Loo Creek, Region Four, Kurukabaru, Region Eight and Iwokrama, Waramadong, Paruima and Annai in Region Nine.

Dr. Singh said the PPP/C Government has long recognised that the absence of adequate, affordable, and reliable energy has been the biggest impediment to accelerated economic and social development.

“Key challenges include dependence on aged fossil-fuel based generation capability, inadequate generating capacity resulting in supply shortfalls, a porous transmission and distribution network resulting in high technical losses, along with high levels of commercial losses,” he said.  

The Minister said the actions of the APNU+AFC Government derailed the Amaila Falls Hydropower Project which, had it been allowed to be developed, could have been producing electricity for the national grid.

Given the high levels of growth forecast beyond the gas to shore project, the Government’s vision is to also develop and exploit a comprehensive energy mix that harnesses its vast hydropower, solar, wind and biomass potential – conscious always of sustaining and preserving the country’s pristine environment, Dr Singh added.

He said the Government will continue to invest in the Guyana Power and Light (GPL)and encourage policy initiatives to meet and eventually surpass the ever-expanding demand placed on the national grid.

In line with this, the Minister said the power company is executing fundamental infrastructure investments, to promote loss reduction and improve the performance of its power distribution networks.

A sum of $2 billion is budgeted to continue clearing the stock of arrears inherited at GPL.

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