Guyana Chronicle:- TWO years after the sod was turned for its construction, the US$17.8 million 400 kilowatt (KW) photovoltaic power generation system at the CARICOM Secretariat was officially handed over by President Irfaan Ali on Tuesday.
The project, which saw more than 1,500 solar panels being installed, is part of a wider initiative called ‘The Introduction of Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation System in Guyana and CARICOM’, being financed by the Government of Japan, through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and marks a milestone in the relationship between Japan and the Caribbean Community.
Delivering the keynote address at the handing-over ceremony, President Ali underscored the importance of partnerships, particularly in the area of expanding renewable energy sources in developing regions such as the Caribbean.
“As we celebrate the completion of this project, it is important for us to recognise the value for partnerships. In this region, we greatly value partnership; we take very seriously our relationship with our friends, and our commitment to the global community in whatever we do,” President Ali said.
The Head of State noted that the project also demonstrates the region’s seriousness and commitment to renewable energy, and the transition to safer forms of energy.
With this project, the CARICOM Secretariat will now be fully powered by solar energy.
The President also highlighted the commitment of CARICOM member states to put in place strategies, and a framework to maximise the implementation and use of sustainable energy sources.
“This is a demonstration to the region and global community of our seriousness and commitment in doing our part in addressing climate change and transitioning. With the natural gift that the region has comes opportunities for us to exploit these natural attributes; ensuring we are in line with our global commitment to utilise the resource we get from the sun to generate energy is a cornerstone of our energy strategy,” the President said.
President Ali was joined at the event by Prime Minister Brigadier (Ret’d) Mark Phillips; Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Hugh Todd; and CARICOM Secretary-General Dr. Carla Barnett.
Also present were JICA Chief Representative to the Caribbean Hiroyasu Tonokawa, and Ambassador of Japan to Guyana and CARICOM Tatsuo Hirayama.
The Government of Japan was first approached by the Secretariat for funding for the project in 2014, at a time when it was facing massive energy costs, using 1.6 million kwh of electricity at the rate US$0.30 per KWH. The bill for that year was nearly US$500,000.
This situation was deemed unsustainable; a catalyst for the determination to improve the design of the energy system.
The system also includes a 416kwh battery storage and power conditioning for energy storage and power quality regulation, and an advanced building energy management system to, among other things, provide air conditioning controls, track energy efficiency and indoor air quality.