Solar farms to add 18MW to national grid by January 2026

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana
The solar farm at Daag Point, Bartica, Region Seven

By: Andrew Carmichael 

Fifty women are expected to receive jobs on the five solar farms that are expected to be established in Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam), Region Five (Mahaica-Berbice), Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne) and Region Ten (Upper Demerara-Berbice).

The solar farms are expected to produce 35 megawatts of solar power with the first 18 megawatts to become available by January 2026.

The Government through Guyana Power and Light Inc. (GPL) has already acquired the land in the respective regions. The solar farms will be constructed by Chinese state-owned conglomerate SUMEC Co Ltd.

GPL, which has been experiencing several challenges in providing reliable and sustainable power supply to Guyanese has embarked on a new project that seeks to address those two issues and reduce production costs.

Guyana Utility-Scale Solar Photovoltaic Program (GUYSOL) will be executed in Regions 2, 5, 6 and 10.

Guyana has earned financing from the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) as part of the Low Carbon Development Strategy. It intends to utilise this financing to implement the programme.

GUYSOL falls under the utility company, while the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) manages the project.

Social Management Specialist of GUYSOL, Chitra Singh Samaroo addressing the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) of Region Five on the project pointed out that thirty acres of land had been acquired at Trafalgar in that Region.

The initial 18 megawatts will come from the coastal regions. Two solar farms will be established in Region Two – one at Charity which will be expected to produce five megawatts of solar power; Onderneeming which is expected to produce 3 megawatts which will have a combined capacity of 8 megawatts of solar power and a minimum of 8 MWh of battery storage for the Essequibo Coast.

It will also include installing an automated monitoring and control system and remote-control system for the Essequibo Coast.

The tree solar farms in Berbice are being built with the capacity to produce 10 megawatts of solar power. There will be no battery storage for the farms in Berbice, with 4 megawatts coming from the farm at Trafalgar in Region Five and three each from the two farms in Region Six; at Hampshire on the Corentyne and Prospect on the East Bank of Berbice.

“Eventuality this project will inject 33 MW of renewable energy into the national grid.Obviously, this will displace the use of fossil fuel in energy generation; it will reduce greenhouse gas emissions which is good for the country, more than that it would improve the infrastructural services as a country.”

The Government has already got the IDB to release the required US $83 million to set up the five farms and train persons to work on them.

Additionally, the procurement of an extra 15 megawatts peak is scheduled for later this year for Linden in Region 10.

Speaking of some benefits individual regions would derive from the project, Samaroo said it would add value to infrastructural development and aid in developing the local economy.“Because the contractor will be hiring people from the region to work on the solar farm as well as we will be sourcing material from these regions to build the solar farm.”

It will also implement two energy apprenticeship programmes to provide hands-on experience to 20 Guyanese men and women, including those with disabilities.

“In addition, to us installing the solar farms in regions 2, 5, and 6 we also have a social and developmental initiative that we will execute within a short period. We are trying to get a total of fifty women from regions 2, 5, 6, and eventually Region 10. Once they have a minimum of three CSEC subjects: Mathematics, English Language, and at least one science subject, and live in Guyana they can be a part of a programme where they will be exposed to free training for one and a half months and then they will have a job opportunity to put into practice whatever they were taught for eight months,” the Social Management Specialist explained.

Land preparation for the initial five farms is expected to commence before the end of June and all five farms should be up and running by the end of January 2026 as SUMEC Co Ltd had been given eighteen months to have all solar farms functional.