Guyana unveils solar energy plan; Mabaruma to get first solar farm

Last Updated on Monday, 28 November 2016, 20:12 by Denis Chabrol

Guyana will next year construct the first solar farm as part of a larger plan to reduce the country’s fossil fuel bill and  prevent carbon emissions.

“To complement public sector investment, the Government will be granting a one-off tax holiday of two years for corporation tax to importers of items for wind and solar energy investments, and for investors in water treatment, waste disposal, and recycling facilities.

These interventions, when finalised, will significantly improve the lives of our people, especially in the hinterland, by incentivising  behavioural change, boosting investor confidence, and ensuring energy reliability,” the Finance Minister, Winston Jordan said in his 2017 National Budget speech.

He announced that the first “large scale” solar farm would be constructed at Mabaruma at a cost if GY$264 million dollars.  The 400 kilowatt solar farm will provide an additional 17 hours of electricity to the 3,000 residents of Mabaruma.

Plans are also on the drawing board, he said, to build an 800 kilowatt s0lar system at Lethem, 400 kilowatts at Mahdia, and 1.5 megawatts at Bartica

The Finance Minister said one-off tax holidays would be granted to importers of solar energy and water recycling systems.

Ten thousand inefficient lamps would be replaced by 10,000 Light Emitting Diode lights and the installation of  300 occupancy sensors would be provided at select government buildings. Those, he said, would save 0.93 gigawatts power annually or 600 barrels of oil worth GYD$54 million. Experts say 558 tons of carbon emissions will be avoided.

Government’s energy efficiency programme will involve, also, the replacement of inefficient lights and the installation of 10,427 light-emitting diode (LED) lamps and 3,766 occupancy sensors in government buildings, as well as 360 energy efficient outdoor lights. This intervention will result in annual energy savings of 0.93 GWh or 600 barrels of oil equivalent, with an estimated annual cost savings of $54 million, and avoided carbon dioxide emissions of 558 tonnes per year.

He said the renewable energy and energy efficiency interventions in 2017 will result in annual energy savings of approximately 2.8 GWh or 1,800 barrels of oil equivalent per year and an annual cost saving of approximately $193 million, and avoided carbon dioxide emissions of 1,674 tonnes per year. The simple payback period would be approximately 5.2 years, based on the combined investment cost. |

In 2017, government plans to access and spend the balance of the current Japanese NonProject Grant Aid facility to the private sector, to procure 5,000 energy efficient street lamps.

“This endeavour will result in the replacement of the existing inefficient 250 W street lights with 120 W LED street lamps, resulting in energy savings of about $158 million annually, with other benefits such as a reduction in power demand of about 0.7 MW and environmental benefits of about 2,000 tonnes carbon dioxide emissions per year avoided. Based on the annual energy savings, this investment in energy efficiency will have a simple payback of less than two years,” the Finance Minister said.

The Government will conduct further geotechnical studies for the Moco Moco Hydropower Development Project. The results of the geotechnical studies, which are expected to be completed in 2017, will be used to invite bids for the hydropower re-development contract, he said. Also, in the coming year, he said Guyana would see data collection studies being conducted on wind energy via a demonstration wind project.