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Photovoltaic Systems Installed in Two Hinterland Communities with UNDP Grant Funding

PV Panels on Roof of Community Centre, Paruima

PV Panels on Roof of Community Centre, Paruima

In support of its strategy to provide efficient and reliable energy as one means of alleviating poverty, the Government received a grant from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to implement a project titled “Capacity Building and Demonstration Projects for Hinterland Unserved Areas Utilizing Renewable Energy Sources”. This project was implemented by the Office of the Prime Minister with support from a Steering Committee which included representatives from the UNDP, Guyana Energy Agency, Institute of Applied Science & Technology and the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs. The primary objective of that project was to deliver technical assistance, institutional strengthening and capacity building in a practical way through the implementation of hinterland renewable energy demonstration projects.

An initial assessment was carried out in five hinterland communities – (i) Waramadong, Region 7; (ii) Paruima, Region 7; (iii) Kato, Region 8; (iv) Katoonarib, Region 9; and (v) Paramakatoi, Region 8 – to determine potential energy sources and the energy needs of those communities. The findings showed that photovoltaic was the most feasible energy source since additional data was required to assess the feasibility of hydropower, wind and biomass energy sources. Energy for lighting and the operation of small appliances was considered the greatest need in those communities.

IMPLEMENTATION OF PROJECTS

The first demonstration project was completed at Paruima, Region 7 in December 2004. That project entails one 1500 watts photovoltaic system installed at the Multipurpose Hall. That system provides lighting to enhance economic activities such as sewing, so that this economic venture is not limited to only during the hours of daylight. Additionally the project also financed a 1.1 kilowatt multipurpose electric mill, a 220 lb. scale, one security safe, one single phase transformer and one plastic bag sealing machine. The Paruima community is active in farming; but not much economic gains can be achieved by retailing raw farm produce to other locations because of the extremely high cost of transportation and the perishable nature of such produce. With the provision of an electrical mill operated on the PV system and vacuum sealing equipment, value added products such as, onion powder, plantain flour, and cassava flour which have higher commercial value, are produced thus resulting in an economic boost for residents.

In addition to economic benefits, the provision of lighting at the multipurpose building would facilitate social gatherings for games such as table tennis and also provide educational benefits for students reading and studying for exams. There is also the potential for craft classes and related economic activity to be held in the upper-lighted section of the building. It is anticipated that this project would generate significant economic activity and create a better life for the residents of the Paruima community. The project would demonstrate to other communities the benefits of utilizing renewable energy for the development of their communities. The total cost for that project is US$24,373.17 (twenty-four thousand three hundred and seventy-three dollars and seventeen cents).

Based on initial field surveys conducted, Kato in Region 8 was selected as the site for the second demonstration project. In discussions with the Regional Authorities it was agreed that the greatest need for electric lighting and electric power was at the Kato Hospital. Accordingly, the second demonstration project which involved the installation of one 1500 watts, 120 VAC photovoltaic system was installed at the Kato Hospital in August 2005. This system provides electric lighting on the inside and on the outside of the building and power outlets for the operation of medical equipment. Additionally, the project funded one 4.9 cubic feet refrigerator for storing vaccines, a television, VCR and DVD player to show educational materials to residents of the community and to enhance capacity building of medical personnel. There is also the potential for economic use of the PV system at the Kato Hospital through the charging of batteries for domestic use. The Kato Project was financed at a cost of US$20,003.19 (twenty thousand and three dollars and nineteen cents).

MANAGEMENT AND MAINTENANCE OF PROJECT

The Paruima Village Council is responsible for the management and maintenance of the PV system and other equipment, including maintenance of proper financial records and accountability for the income received from the use of the electric mill. At Kato the Regional Democratic Council is responsible for the maintenance and management of the PV system. The RDC is required to collaborate with the Kato Village Council in publicizing the project within the community and encouraging residents to make use of the battery charging facilities.

COMMISSIONING OF PROJECTS

On October 5, 2005 the Honourable Prime Minister who holds responsibility for the Electricity Sector visited Kato and Paruima to commission the two photovoltaic systems. Ms. Carla Khammar, Deputy Resident Representative of the UNDP was among the persons accompanying the Prime Minister.

Issued by Office of the Prime Minister, Octorber 1, 2005


Category/ies:Guyana News, Solar Energy.
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