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6,000 Hinterland households to benefit from solar systems

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Following the launch of the Sustainable Business Models for Rural Electrification and Energy Access in Guyana Project by the Public Infrastructure Ministry, six thousand homes across 25 hinterland communities in Guyana will receive solar home systems.

According to a press release from the Ministry, the project, which is being spearheaded by MPI’s Hinterland Electrification Unit (HEU), was launched today, March 14, 2016. It is in collaboration with the not-for-profit company, CARIBSAVE, and the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), a member of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Group.

Minister within the Ministry, Annette Ferguson, deemed the event a significant one, highlighting that in Guyana, over 80 percent of hinterland communities have no access to electricity.

Minister Ferguson stressed that the glaring disparity between the electrification rates must be rectified. In this regard, she disclosed that the Government allocated $110M in the 2016 National Budget to close the electrification rate gap that exists between urban areas and the hinterland.

She said the imbalance is glaring, pointing to the fact that “it is no secret that the hinterland remains the reserve of Guyana’s wealth; therefore, if we can create the infrastructure that will improve energy availability for rural communities, the result will be a win-win for everyone…rural electrification improves social, environmental and economic parameters of rural livelihood,” the Minister stressed.

Minister Ferguson said the project will bring drastic improvement to people’s lives and communities, through the improvement of public infrastructure, living conditions, health and education facilities.

Meanwhile, CARIBSAVE Caribbean Regional Director, Judi Clarke noted that over the years, the company has focussed on a number of areas, including climate change; risk and resilience; biodiversity, ecosystems and marine conservation; and low carbon development and renewable energy.

“Energy demands are growing worldwide yet approximately 1.5 billion have no access to electricity…we are therefore very excited to embark upon this project,” she said.

According to the ministry, the key objective of the project is the increase sustainable, affordable, and reliable access to renewable energy technologies to rural communities in regions 1, 2, 7, 8, and 9 while ultimately improving the quality of lives for those living in the hinterland regions.

It is also an integral part of Guyana’s broader Sustainable Energy Programme.

The project will also focus on the development of business models for solar photovoltaic systems which will be installed in community buildings in the 25 communities.

In addition, community members and other energy sector agencies will be trained in technical, operational, social and environmental aspects of the project.

It was disclosed that MIF has contributed US$1.3M to the project; the project’s total amount is US$1.7M and its financing period will cover from 2016 to 2019. Currently, the 25 villages are being finalised and will be chosen shortly.

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