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Spotlight: Hinterland energy in Guyana

This article deals with Hinterland energy issues. For electricity in general, see the article Electricity sector in Guyana.



About 80% of the population in Guyana live along the coastal plain, with access to the electricity grid. The areas outside the coastal plain are referred to as hinterland, where the population mostly consists of Amerindian communities. These communities have little access to modern energy services such as electricity, light and modern fuels for cooking and transportation. Several initiatives are in place to improve energy services in the hinterland.

Stakeholders and involved parties

Many offices and organisations are active in issues relating to energy development in the hinterland, some of which are listed below:

Acronym Full Name Description Location
OPM Office of Prime Minister Responsibility for energy sector Georgetown
MoAA Ministry of Amerindian Affairs Beneficiary in many projects Georgetown
GEA Guyana Energy Agency Energy policies, advice, recommendations Georgetown
OP Office of President / LCDS Responsibility on GRIF Georgetown
IAST Institute of Applied Science and Technology Research on agro energy Georgetown
IDB Inter-American Development Bank Financing Georgetown
UNDP United Nations Development Programme Development Georgetown
Caricom Caribbean Community Caribbean Community Georgetown
CREDP Caribbean Renewable Energy Dev.Prog. CARICOM Renewable Energy St. Lucia
OLADE Latin American Energy Organization Latin American Energy Organisation Ecuador
CIDA Canadian International Development Agency Canadian International Development Agency Canada
JICA Japan International Cooperation Agency Japanese development Agency Georgetown
Eerepami Eerepami Regenwald Stiftung NGO Foundation Germany-Guyana Germany
SIDS DOCK Small Islands Developing States cooperation Platform to assist SIDS to develop sustainable energy New York
Peace Corps Peace Corps Capacity Building USA

Projects and initiatives

Unserved Areas Electrification Programme (GoG,OPM,IDB 2004-2010)

The Government of Guyana (GoG) started the implementation of the Unserved Areas Electrification Programme (UAEP) with loan support from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in 2004, which had several components, including extending electric grid coverage of Guyana Power and Light Inc., reducing losses, management and operational support and a Customer Information System. It also had a hinterland energy component, using Solar Home Systems (SHS) and community-based systems for schools to provide community and household access to electricity. The systems in Yarakita, Capoey, Kurukubaru and Muritaro comprised a 125W monocrystalline panel and flooded lead acid battery. The schools in these villages received 250W system with inverter, 8x25W bulbs and 120V outlets. Another 12 villages received a total of 1200 SHS with 65W panels and maintenance-free AGM battery, and one 260W system for the school. Wind speed measurements were carried out in Orealla, Jawalla, Campbelletown and Yupukari, but wind power potential was found to be insufficient[1]

Rural Electrification Project (GEA, OLADE, CIDA 2009)

Solar controller used in SHS

This project was funded by CIDA, implemented jointly by the Latin American Energy Organisation OLADE and the University of Calgary-Haskayne School of Business. The Guyana Energy Agency GEA was the national supporting agency. The project focused on the village of Wowetta and it included 5 components: 49 Solar Home Systems (40W MC Kyocera panel, 92Ah Deka AGM battery, 8 Amp Steca controller, one 7W and one 15W CFL 12V lightbulb), a freezer for the village shop (SunDanzer 24V freezer, 2x130W Kyocera panels, a 15 Amp Steca controller and two 12V lightbulbs), a Lorenz submersible water pump for irrigation of vegetable garden (four 85W panels, Lorenz 200 pump controller), an electric 110V cassava mill powered by a diesel generator, and a joinery shop. A field visit in May 2011 showed that the SHS and solar freezer were working well, but the water pump was defective. In addition, due to several overcast days the freezer was temporarily emptied due to insufficient cooling.

Hinterland Electrification by Renewable Energy Pilot Project (UNDP/OPM 2006-2008)

Efficient wood stove used in Orealla

The purpose of this project was capacity building and demonstration of renewable energy. It was funded by UNDP and implemented by Office of Prime Minister. During this project, 3 PV systems were installed for income generation, one in Wauna to support a peanut processing business, one in Kato for a vaccine freezer and battery charging service and one in Orealla to support Fruit Cheese production. Also, efficient woodstoves were introduced in Orealla and Kato to reduce firewood consumption and respiratory illnesses from smoke inhalation. Wind measurement was carried out in Paramakatoi, but proved insufficient for wind power generation

In Kato an opportunity was identified to use small hydro-power at the Chiung River to operate a water pump for irrigation purposes, and a prefeasibility study was carried out. In 2011 the hydro-power option is pursued by OPM and under EU support to provide the school in Kato with electricity and irrigation for the nearby fields.

Energy Services at Community Level for MDG achievement in Hinterland area (UNDP/OPM/GEA 2010-2015)

Parabolic solar cooker

The United Nations Development Programme UNDP has initiated a project on delivering energy services to hinterland areas. However, this project also targets other energy needs besides electricity, like cooking and transportation and it focuses specifically on community needs. It builds on the experiences of 2006 project and will be carried out in two phases during 2011-2012 and 2013-2015. In the first phase a needs assessment survey will be carried out in Regions 1 and 7 to identify specific energy needs and potential energy sources.

Solar Home Light kits (GEA, MoFA)

Portable solar light kit

In 2009 the Guyana Energy Agency and Office of Prime Minister in collaboration with Ministry of Amerindian Affairs provided 1000 portable solar light kits to 19 Villages in Regions 1,2,7,8 and 9. The kit consists of a 15W panel, a charge control cabinet containing a 20Ah battery and three 11W CFL light bulbs.[1] In 2011 another 100 solar light kits were procured, with new design and LED light bulbs.

Hinterland Electrification Programme, 11.000 Solar Home Systems (OP/OPM/GRIF 2011)

In 2011 GoG will invest more on distributed PV technology when 11.000 Solar Home Systems (65W)[2][3] are being deployed to mostly Amerindian Hinterland and riverine communities as part of the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS). The systems will be equipped with maintenance-free AGM batteries. Due to delays in accessing funding by the Guyana Redd+ Investment Fund (GRIF) the acquired equipment will be paid from the national treasury and the Government will seek retroactive financing.[2]

The project will also include training the communities to install and maintain their systems.

Eerepami Foundation Projects

This German foundation Eerepami Regenwaldstiftung has carried out several renewable energy initiatives in Guyana. In Bina Hill and Shell Beach 1 kW PV systems have been installed, and the Bina Hill system will later be extended to 11 kW. In Annai and Agatash a set of 100 solar lights have been distributed. The foundation also encourages other hinterland activities and volunteering.

Peace Corps Capacity Building

After identifying the lack of knowledge on PV technology the Peace Corps has initiated efforts to provide engineering support to specific locations in the Hinterland as well as prepare training for community volunteers in 2011.

Mobile phone base stations in off-grid areas

Mobile Base Station

Mobile operators (Digicel and GTT) are expanding their coverage to off-grid areas and thus require electricity for the base stations. As conventional diesel generators face maintenance and fuel cost issues and the price of PV equipment is declining, it is envisaged that mobile base stations will be powered by PV systems. Digicel has already installed PV power systems in the villages of Wakapau, Kwebana, Red Hill and Mathews Ridge. 58 miles and Mahdia Trail will get PV later in 2011, and Mahdia, Port Kaituma and Mabaruma in 2012. To support local communities and improve the mobile communication potential a phone charging service is provided to the communities free of charge.

Private installations

Holiday cabin using solar power

Several private users and tourism businesses have installed renewable energy systems in the Hinterland. PV electricity, typically using diesel backup, is in use at least in Iwokrama Field Station, Surama Ecolodge, Arrow Point and Karanambu.

Amaila Falls Hydro Energy Power

The Amaila Falls Hydro Energy Plant is not directly targeting energy needs in the Hinterland, but the plants remote location in Region 7 and the vast logistics of construction, access and transmission lines for the largest investment project in Guyana will be a significant development for the Hinterland. The designed electrical power is 165MW, which exceeds the national electricity demand. The project would offer the opportunity for Guyana to move from a nearly complete reliance on imported fuels to self sufficiency in primary energy demand for electricity production.


The Caricom Renewable Energy Development Programme CREDP is a joint project of CARICOM and the German International Cooperation GIZ, formerly GTZ, delivering technical expertise to renewable energy projects. CREDP seeks to remove barriers for the use of Renewable Energy and application of Energy Efficiency measures in the Caribbean Region. In Guyana, CREDP is currently providing technical support to a small hydro-power project in Kato, as well as a business in Georgetown in utilising PV.


The SIDS DOCK Support Programme is a joint initiative of UNDP and the World Bank, developed in close consultation with the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS). This initiative aims to support Small Island Developing States (SIDS) to transition to low-emission economies through development and deployment of renewable energy resources and promotion of greater energy efficiency. An important component is the one-stop-shop function, facilitating SIDS’s access to global financial flows, especially from the carbon market enabling them to fund transformational energy policies.

The programme will be implemented over a period of 18 months, from July 2011 to December 2012. At present, funding of USD 14.5 million has been mobilized from the Government of Denmark.

PV installations

Photovoltaic systems can be Solar Home Systems, installations for a specific application (like a water pump or freezer) or community or mini-grids serving multiple users.

Photovoltaic household systems

Regions of Guyana

No public records exist on private Solar Home Systems in use in Guyana. However, several development projects have comprising Solar Home System (SHS) installations or portable systems (Pico-PV) for small lights etc. have been carried out in Hinterland villages. These projects typically use a one size fits all approach to serve a large number of beneficiaries.

Region Village Purpose Responsible Watt per unit Units Installed
1 Hobodeia SHS UAEP 65 ? 2008[1]
1 Red Hill SHS UAEP 65 ? 2008[1]
1 Sebai SHS UAEP 65 ? 2008[1]
1 Yarakita SHS UAEP 125 104 2008[1]
2 Capoey SHS UAEP 125 66 2008[1]
2 St Denys SHS UAEP 65 ? 2008[1]
3 Santa Aratuk SHS UAEP 65 ? 2008[1]
3 Swarte Hoek SHS 175 62 1997[1]
7 Jawalla SHS UAEP 65 ? 2008[1]
7 Paruima SHS UAEP 65 ? 2008[1]
8 Chenapou SHS UAEP 65 ? 2008[1]
8 Kurukubaru SHS UAEP 125 101 2008[1]
8 Waipa SHS UAEP 65 ? 2008[1]
9 Sand Creek SHS UAEP 65 ? 2008[1]
9 Wowetta SHS GEA-CIDA 40 49 2009[1]
9 Yupukari SHS UAEP 65 ? 2008[1]
10 Muritaro SHS UAEP 125 62 2008[1]
10 Rockstone SHS UAEP 65 ? 2008[1]
1 Four Miles Small light GEA-OPM 15 70 2010[1]
1 Hotaquai Small light GEA-OPM 15 84 2010[1]
2 Mashabo Small light GEA-OPM 15 70 2010[1]
7 Arau Small light GEA-OPM 15 34 2010[1]
7 Kaikan Small light GEA-OPM 15 56 2010[1]
8 Kaibarupai Small light GEA-OPM 15 68 2010[1]
8 Kanapang Small light GEA-OPM 15 63 2010[1]
8 Tuseneng Small light GEA-OPM 15 40 2010[1]
9 Bashanzon Small light GEA-OPM 15 31 2010[1]
9 Kaimatta Small light GEA-OPM 15 21 2010[1]
9 Katoka Small light GEA-OPM 15 92 2010[1]
9 Katoonarib Small light GEA-OPM 15 65 2010[1]
9 Kwatamang Small light GEA-OPM 15 67 2010[1]
9 Paipang Small light GEA-OPM 15 25 2010[1]
9 Parikwarunai Small light GEA-OPM 15 45 2010[1]
9 Rupertree Small light GEA-OPM 15 52 2010[1]
9 Surama Small light GEA-OPM 15 50 2010[1]
9 Tiger pond Small light GEA-OPM 15 30 2010[1]
9 Toka Small light GEA-OPM 15 37 2010[1]

Photovoltaic community systems

Solar systems for community use or specific consumers are generally larger in size, and designed specifically to meet the electric load.

Region Village Purpose Responsible Watt per unit Installed Status
1 Hobodeia School UAEP 260 2008 [1]
1 Kwebana GSM base station Digicel 1000-2000 2011 [4]
1 Mabaruma GSM base station Digicel 1000-2000 2012 Not ready yet[4]
1 Mathews Ridge GSM base station Digicel 1000-2000 2011 [4]
1 Port Kaituma GSM base station Digicel 1000-2000 2012 Not ready yet[4]
1 Red Hill School UAEP 260 2008 [1]
1 Red Hill GSM base station Digicel 1000-2000 2011 [4]
1 Sebai School UAEP 260 2008 [1]
1 Shell Beach Health Centre Eerepami 1000 2011 [5]
1 Thomas Hill GSM base station Digicel 1000-2000 2011 [4]
1 Wara Paka Health Centre 110 2007 [1]
1 Waramuri Public buildings IAST 2002 [6]
1 Yarakita School UAEP 250 2008 [1]
2 Bethany Public buildings IAST 2002 [6]
2 Capoey School UAEP 250 2008 [1]
2 St Denys School UAEP 260 2008 [1]
2 Wakapoa GSM base station Digicel 1000-2000 2011 [4]
2 Wakapoa Public buildings IAST 2002 [6]
3 Agatash Lamp recharging Eerepami 300? 2011 [5]
3 Karia Karia Health Centre 110 2007 [1]
3 Santa Aratuk School UAEP 260 2008 [1]
4 St. Cuthberts Mission Public buildings IAST 2002 [6]
5 St Culbert Pump 1800 2006 [1]
6 Orealla Business 2450 2009 [1]
6 Orealla Public buildings IAST 2002 [6]
7 Imbamadai Health Centre 110 2008 [1]
7 Jawalla School UAEP 260 [1]
7 Kamarang Learning Centre EFA FTI 960 2011 [7]
7 Paruima School UAEP 260 [1]
7 Paruima Business 1008 2004 [1]
8 Chenapou School UAEP 260 2008 [1]
8 GRA Office 5000 2010 [7]
8 Iwokrama Field station use Private 2300 2008 [8]
8 Kaieteur Business 1272 2004 [1]
8 Kato Health Centre 1008 2005 [1]
8 Kurukubaru School UAEP 250 2008 [1]
8 Mahdia GSM base station Digicel 1000-2000 2012 [4]
8 Mahdia Trail GSM base station Digicel 1000-2000 2011 Not ready yet[4]
8 Monkey Mountain Health Centre 110 2007 [1]
8 Waipa School UAEP 260 2008 [1]
9 Aishalton Pump 1800 2006 Not Working[1]
9 Annai Pump 1272 2004 [1]
9 Apoteri Health Centre 110 2007 [1]
9 Bina Hill Community use Eerepami 11000 2011 Not installed yet[5]
9 Karanambu Lodge Private 500 2008 OK[9]
9 Karasabai Pump 1272 2004 [1]
9 Kwaimatta Pump Panel Cracked[9]
9 Kwaimatta School 250 [9]
9 Maruranau Community use 1000 2011 [7]
9 Massara School 250 OK[9]
9 Massara Pump OK[9]
9 Sand Creek School UAEP 260 2008 [1]
9 Sand Creek Pump 1800 2006 [1]
9 Wowetta Freezer in shop GEA-CIDA 260 2009 OK[8]
9 Wowetta Pump GEA-CIDA 340 2009 Pump out of order[1]
9 Yupukari School UAEP 260 2008 [1]
9 Yupukari Pump 1800 2006 Not Working[1]
9 Yupukari Caiman House Private 3900 OK[9]
9 Yupukari Pump Caiman H. Private OK[9]
10 58 Miles GSM base station Digicel 1000-2000 2011 Not ready yet[4]
10 Moraikobai Pump 1272 2004 [1]
10 Muritaro School UAEP 250 2008 [1]
10 Rockstone School UAEP 260 2008 [1]


Oil palm tree (Elaeis guineensis)

Guyana has excellent potential for biofuels utilization. The GuySuCo Sugar factory in Skeldon has been modernized and a biocombustion plant has been built for producing electricity from bagasse. In recent years the Institute of Applied Science and Technology has been investigating rice husk for combustion, and vegetable oils (palm, coconut, jathropa, wastes) for biodiesel production,[10] with large scale palm oil based production facilities in Wauna, Region 1. Furthermore, the development of a national Agro-Energy Policy has been reported,[11] but information has not been updated since 2008.


The GEA reports small scale biogas production at 5 sites[1] in Georgetown, Linden and Berbice, using mostly low-cost polyethylene-film tube digesters of plug-flow digesters. Many have been supported by IDB and the Institute of Private Enterprise Development. Pay-back periods of 3–7 months have been reported. A similar digester has been built in Bina Hill, but this digester is currently not operational.


Renewable energy equipment is available from several suppliers in Georgetown, some of which are listed below in alphabetical order:

Company Products/Services
Eagle Resources Ltd PV, Solar Water Heating, Wind and Micro-hydro power
Farfan & Mendes PV, Solar Water Heating
Gafoors PV
Jerome Defreitas & Sons PV
National Hardware PV
Starr Computers PV, Wind


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc bd be bf bg bh bi bj bk bl bm bn bo bp bq br bs bt bu Energy Development in Guyana. GEA. 2010.
  2. ^ a b Office of President web page. “Solar panel project moving ahead”. Hinterland Electrification Programme. Retrieved 19 July 2011.
  3. ^ Guyana Chronicle. 4.7.2011.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Sinclair, Digicel 07/2011
  5. ^ a b c Eerepami webpage 07/2011
  6. ^ a b c d e UNDP, Project Document, Capacity building and demonstration projects for electrification of hinterland unserved areas, utilising renewable energy, 2003
  7. ^ a b c J.Defreitas 07/2011
  8. ^ a b Field visit H.Horn 05/2011
  9. ^ a b c d e f g R.Anliker 07/2011
  10. ^ Narine, Suresh. “Agro-Energy Presentation”. Biofuels in Guyana. IAST. Retrieved 20 July 2011.
  11. ^ “IAST Biofuels”. IAST. Retrieved 20 July 2011.

External links

Category/ies:Guyana Articles.
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