Guyana gets ‘greenlight’ to use US $83M Norway funds for solar farms

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Guyana will soon expand its renewable energy capacity through the construction of eight large-scale solar farms now that the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has approved the use of US $83.3 million accumulated from Norway.

This sum was earned from Norway to keep Guyana’s rainforests intact and it was kept in the Guyana REDD+ Investment Fund (GRIF). The IDB has been the custodian of the GRIF and as such, has to grant approval for the use of the funds.

With the government interested in using the funds to advance the country’s transition to more renewable energy, which are deemed to be better for the environment, the IDB gave its approval for an investment into solar farms.

The planned investment is known as the Guyana Utility Scale Solar Photovoltaic Program (GUYSOL).

A press release from the IDB, issued on Friday, stated that GUYSOL will invest in eight utility-scale, photovoltaic solar projects totaling 33M Megawatts- peak (MWp) with associated 34 Megawatt hour (MWh) energy storage systems distributed across three areas in the country.

Providing a breakdown of the power distribution, the Bank said that 10MWp will be invested in a project within the Berbice area, an 8MWp project in the Essequibo system with a minimum of 12MWh battery storage and 15MWp plant connected to the Linden system with a minimum of 22MWh battery storage.

The eight projects, the IDB said, will contribute to avoiding carbon dioxide emissions which are produced by burning heavy fuels such as diesel as is currently done by the Guyana Power and Light (GPL).

They are also expected to lower the cost of generating electricity, and support a substantial transition to power generation based on more renewable energy sources.

This is in-keeping with the government’s plan to meet Guyana’s growing energy demand by investing in natural gas and a combination of wind, solar and hydro power.

The release also noted that the program will also support a step-change with respect to digitalization of Essequibo and Linden electrical systems, moving them from manual systems towards real-time, automated monitoring and control, improving efficiency, reliability, and stability.

Alongside these investments in infrastructure, the GUYSOL Program will encourage diversity and inclusion in the maintenance and management of renewable infrastructure, developing local skills and apprenticeships with a focus on opportunities for women.

Further, it was related that by 2025 in line with Guyana’s Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS), more than 265 thousand customers within the Demerara-Berbice Interconnected System and Linden and Essequibo systems will benefit from reinforced reliability of electricity supply, and modernization of systems.

GPL and the Linden Electricity Company Inc. (LECI) will also benefit from the use of solar photovoltaic technology that will displace significant amounts of fossil fuels and reduce generation costs.

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