Solar farms in Guyana will always be a big plus

Dear Editor,
The very idea that solar farms will be constructed at Charity and Onderneeming is enough to stir excitement. In fact, I am fully cognizant that, over the last few years, solar energy technology has advanced leaps and bounds, and it has never been so environmentally friendly yet quite cost-efficient to turn to solar energy sources. I think this is in the minds of those who are spearheading the Charity and Onderneeming projects.
The word I got from the press is that “…as part of regional developments across the country, and to ensure that every resident benefits from a more comfortable and enhanced lifestyle, matters in this regard were discussed between the Regional Chairman of Region Two, Vilma De Silva, along with other regional officials and representatives from the Guyana Utility Scale Solar Photovoltaic Programme (GUYSOL).” This is a great start, and hopefully it will be fully embraced until the realisation of some actual solar farms.
Editor, it is a work in progress, and it will take time to develop these particular solar farms. The People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government will have to invest in heavy equipment to get the job done, so the site visit in one area was all about looking at the area and deciding where to build a sturdy enough bridge over the canal to hold the weight of the necessary machine. All of this will take time and effort. Too much is at stake, but loads of profit can be the end result.
In terms of what will be accomplished, we are talking about “…having two solar farms in the region: the one at Charity will produce 3MW, and the second one that will be built in Onderneeming will produce 5MW”. Overall, then, these will redound in 8MW being added to the grid in Anna Regina. So, it is well worth it, as it fits into the plans of President Dr. Irfaan Ali to ensure that residents of the area are not affected by power shortage and outage.
On a wider scale, I just wish more and more Guyanese will become conversant regarding solar farms. The simple fact is that solar farms use a reliable, clean energy source, but the same cannot be said for energy sources such as fossil fuels and coal. Solar farms are for sure better environmentally, as they do not cause wide-spread and heavy pollution, in comparison with most conventional energy sources.
I add here that solar farms can still be used to farm crops and graze livestock.
Studies in 2018 and 2019 have shown that it is beneficial to co-locate croplands and solar farms in a practice known as “agrovoltaics.” If, down the road, local landowners or the Government want to revert the land to solely agricultural use, this can be accomplished easily. Land that was not used for crops while functioning as a solar farm may even “maintain soil quality and contribute to the biodiversity of the land.” It is really a ‘win’ in every area.
With SUMEC Complete Equipment and Engineering Company Limited and XJ Group Corporation (the contractor) at the helm, the goal is to make all of this happen in around 18 months. As regards funds, the Guyana/Norway partnership is providing this with an estimated $83.3 million invested, and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) is in charge of overseeing GUYSOL. All of this input breathes of quality, integrity and transparency.
Guyana cannot go wrong where solar farms are concerned. For example, China uses the most solar power globally, generating over 224GWh of electricity using just solar, with a projected 370kWh of installed solar by 2024. Then solar installations are becoming cheaper and are expected to increase in both residential and commercial U.S markets – with the potential of 1 solar installation per minute in the US by 2024. The future is beckoning us in Guyana.

Yours truly,
HB Singh