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Photovoltaic System Powers Hinterland Fruit-Cheese Factory

A 1500-Watt photovoltaic (solar) system was installed at the fruit cheese factory in the Amerindian Village of Orealla, which is some 67 kilometers up the Corentyne River in the Berbice region of Guyana.  The system, which was installed in February 2009, will power the lighting and all the electrical appliances, such as the blender and sealing machines, use for the production of fruit cheese. Acquisition and installation of the system was financed by grant funding from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) under the “Capacity Building and Demonstration Projects for Hinterland Unserved Areas Utilizing Renewable Energy Sources” project. The system design and installation management was carried out by the Project Implementation Unit of the Office of the Prime Minister.

The small fruit cheese factory is managed by the Orealla Fruit Cheese Women’s Association (OFCWA). The specific objectives of the group are:

  1. To manage the agro-processing unit using fruits purchased from local farmers;
  2. To sell finished products produced by the Association;
  3. To provide employment to Amerindian Women in the communities of Orealla and Siparuta (a neighbouring village);
  4. To support the development of farming activities at Orealla;
  5. To assist in community development by contributing to schools and general improvement in education in the community; and
  6. To teach women to become self employed and independent and to assist in supplementing family income.

At present the group consists of twelve (12) members and three (3) volunteers. The group produces fruit cheese from cherry, guava, pineapple, mango and other fruits. Recently, the OFCWA has also added jams to its line of products.

Construction of the factory was completed in 2002. Since then, the OFCWA was using a gasoline powered generator to supply the factory electricity needs, until  the solar system was installed. Acquiring gasolene for the generator usually involves a round trip of over 100 kilometers by boat and, therefore, significant cost. With the photovoltaic system, the OFCWA can now use a locally available energy source – sunlight.

Category/ies:Guyana News, Solar Energy.
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