$565M solar farm for Lethem

  • Apr 13, 2019
  • Guyana Chronicle

A ONE-MEGAWATT (1 MW) solar farm valued at $565M is expected to be constructed in Lethem, the Department of Public Information has reported.

The plan for the solar farm is currently awaiting approval from the International Tender, after which the construction will commence. The project, which “is anticipated to take a year to come into fruition,” will provide Lethem with a more stable source of electricity.

It is also expected to supplement the diesel-based electricity supply and according to Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson, it is anticipated that within two and a half years, Lethem will be fully operable on renewable energy.

The establishment of the Lethem solar farm is part of a larger, national project to equip the Rupununi and other outlying areas, such as Mabaruma, Bartica and Mahdia, with enough access to a reliable energy source by 2020. The government has already commissioned a 0.4MW solar farm in Mabaruma in 2018 and a solar photovoltaic (PV) system is expected to be constructed in Mahdia in June of this year.

Minister Patterson told the Department of Public Information (DPI) that a loan from the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) was recently approved. This loan is expected to fund the feasibility study for the establishment of $1.4Billion hydropower system, using the Moco Moco and Kumu Falls located in the Rupununi.

Patterson previously had said that though Guyana’s rich renewable energy sources offer the potential for solar energy, hydropower, biofuels, bagasse, biomas, biogas and wind power, they remain largely untapped. Under this government, the public infrastructure minister said, the renewable sources could be exploited in partnership with local, regional and bilateral partners. “We believe that investments in renewable energy can propel Guyana’s energy transition. As I’ve said before, it offers the potential for us to create good green jobs; and significantly reduce energy costs in the country’s electricity sector,” he said. He added: “For a number of reasons, we have chosen to focus our investments in solar and wind energy technologies because it they significantly reduce energy costs for Guyanese. Businesses will be able to reduce production costs and boost income and this will result in benefits to families, communities and the country at large.”

It was pointed out that the Hinterland Electrification Company has estimated cost of US$14,486,927 for investments in solar farms in the communities of Bartica, Lethem, Mahdia, Port Kaituma, Matthew’s Ridge and Kwakwani. These initiatives, the public infrastructure minister said, are aligned with the country’s Green State Development Strategy (GSDS) framework document. The GSDS is being designed to achieve, among other things, the transition to 100 per cent renewable energy in the power sector; affordable, reliable and clean energy services for all; ensure security and quality of energy for business growth and increase energy efficiency.

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