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GEA sets up grid tie system to advance solar energy research


The Guyana Energy Agency, with support from Deutsche Gesellischaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbelt (GIZ) and Austrian Development Cooperation, has recently completed installation of an 8.46 kW grid tie system.

This system, located in the compound of the GEA, will serve as a demonstration project to advance research in solar energy and grid tie technology.  A “grid-tie” solar system is the most common method of installing a residential solar power system. Grid tie systems are connected to the main power grid and are designed to sell power back to the utility company.


Solar panels mounted on the container shed in the GEA compound

In an arrangement known widely as “net metering”, homeowners get paid for the electricity they generate in excess of what they use. This means that in a system that produces 115 per cent of a homeowner’s annual electricity needs, the utility company will pay for the extra 15 per cent that was produced by the system.

Meanwhile, in a release, GEA said as the overarching objectives, the system was installed to promote the use of renewable energy in Guyana; gain understanding of grid tie opportunities to promote the use of renewable energy in Guyana, and demonstrate the use and application of solar PV grid tie technology.

To assist in achieving these objectives, the system was complemented with a mounted 40-inch Sony Internet television that displays the operational data, including actual power production in kW, accumulated energy production in kWh and avoided carbon dioxide emissions in kg.  The benefits of this display are valued in terms of promoting awareness to the public and understanding the accumulated savings over time in a reader-friendly format. Real time power generation and consumption can be viewed at the GEA website

While the installed capacity of the system is 8.46 watts, the actual power output will vary depending on a number of factors such as the position of the sun, amount of sunlight, extent of cloud cover, efficiency of panels, and system losses during the day.

The simple payback time for the project, based on a capital cost of G$6,304,380 (after removing costs associated with demonstration), would be just under seven years.

For those who are interested in sizing their own systems, this translates into an average cost of $745 per watt installed. Based on prevailing tariffs and provided that the panels and inverter remain functional, after year seven, the installation would accrue savings of G$914,429 per year based on present value. The estimated energy production of 13,895 kWh per year, as calculated, would replace energy that would have otherwise been supplied from diesel and fuel oil resources and result in the emission of carbon dioxide. Using IPCC default value of 0.8 kg CO2 for a diesel plant, the estimated amount of CO2 emissions avoided equals 11, 116 kg per year.

Currently, the system is operating on a net metering arrangement with the local power company using the existing meter. A module upgrade was sourced and installed, allowing the meter to now read energy received from the grid, energy supplied to the grid and net energy.

As a first in Guyana, this arrangement serves as a basis for continued dialogue in areas such as legislation, tariff considerations, standards and policy implementation.

For the first time in Guyana, this grid tie solar PV demonstration project provides a working example for the incorporation of renewable energy technology into a national electricity grid, and further represents a further step in the use and promotion of renewable energy in Guyana. Persons interested in viewing the demonstration project or sizing their own systems can contact the GEA on 226-0394, extension 201/233 to schedule a meeting.



Category/ies:Guyana News.
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