The Guyana Energy Agency (GEA), led by Dr. Mahender Sharma, embarked on a nationwide project in 2017 to help government buildings transition to solar power.
That campaign evolved well into 2022, and according to Dr. Sharma, Guyana has been able to rake in big energy savings, some US$2.3 million every year. Dr. Sharma recently told OilNOW that a total of 291 government buildings now operate solely on solar power, boosting the country’s transition to renewables. Along with those annual savings, he revealed too that some 6,023 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) is prevented from being released into the atmosphere per year.
To put that into context, 1 ton of CO2 equates to a car on gasoline driving for half a year.
It is no secret that Guyana has some of the highest energy costs in the Caribbean. And Dr. Sharma envisages even more savings when all of Guyana’s mega solar projects are online. In three years, Guyana will have 14 solar farms and 28 solar mini grids with an accumulated installed capacity of 39 megawatts (MW). Mega solar farms in two main towns – Bartica and Lethem – with a combined 2.5 MW are expected to rake in more savings. Those were contracted under the Energy Matrix Diversification and Strengthening of the Department of Energy programme funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
And more solar farms are expected along Guyana’s coastline. According to the GEA Head, the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) is expected to send tenders out for a mega solar project totaling some 33 MW. These will be spread out in areas like Trafalgar, Region Five, Hampshire and Prospect in Region Six, along with Onderneeming and Charity in Region Two.
Bigger energy projects are expected to come on stream with the start-up of the gas-to-energy project in 2024. That project, coupled with the return of the government’s flagship Amaila Falls hydropower project will deliver a combined 410 MW of power to Guyana’s grid to meet its growing demand for electricity.