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Solar farms for Mahdia, Bartica, Lethem

GEA’s Project Coordinator, Mfon Akpan

The townships of Bartica and Mahdia in Region 8 and Lethem, Region 9 will benefit from an overall of 3.15-megawatt solar-powered mini-grids system totalling $1.7 billion (US$8.6 million).

The project is being funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Guyana Energy Agency (GEA).

The 1.5-megawatt solar photovoltaic power plant at Bartica will benefit 15,000 residents in Bartica, while the 1-megawatt Lethem solar plant will benefit an estimated 5000 people.

Presently, Bartica (Cuyuni Mazaruni) has an installed capacity of 4.4-megawatts; Mahdia (Potaro-Siparuni), 1.2-megawatts and Lethem (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo), 3.06- megawatts. Lands have been identified for the projects; in Bartica, 7.5 acres and Lethem, 5.2 acres.

A pre-bidding conference for the Bartica and Lethem projects was held at the Cara Lodge on Monday. The event attracted some 20 local and international contractors who had the opportunity to seek clarification on the scope of the jobs.

While providing an overview of the project, GEA’s Project Coordinator, Mfon Akpan explained that the projects include engineering, procurement, construction and installation, commissioning and turnkey delivery of the solar plants including battery energy storage systems in Bartica and Lethem. The jobs are to be executed in two lots or phases.

According to Akpan, the construction of the two projects will commence in the first quarter of 2020. Both will be completed and commissioned by the first quarter of 2021.

“If one contractor shall be awarded both lots, the execution of the project must run concurrently. So, this tells us that if you win the 2 bids, this means that you have 330 calendar days to finish the project,” Akpan was quoted as saying by government’s Department of Public Information (DPI).

Contractors participating in the bidding conference.

The contractors were advised of the consequences if the work was not finished within the stipulated time. “If you don’t complete within the 330 days, we are going to charge you 0.05 percent of your total contract amount every day that you delay delivery.” Akpan cautioned.

The potential contractors were also informed of the importance of ensuring they are fully in compliance and have all necessary documents in place before the submission of bids. These include business and VAT registration, NIS and GRA compliance and financial and technical capacity.

Tendering for the construction of the Bartica and Lethem solar farms will officially be opened on November 26, while tenders for the Mahdia project will be conducted separately.

The projects fall under the government’s renewable energy solution for its Hinterland Electrification Strategy. It is aligned with the country’s Green State Development Strategy (GSDS) framework to achieve, among other things, the transition to 100 percent renewable energy in the power sector, affordable, reliable and clean energy services for all, and security and quality energy for business growth and energy efficiency.

Also present at Monday’s event was Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Guyana Energy Authority (GEA), Dr. Mahender Sharma.