Guyana has approximately 218 Hinterland communities with a total population of 98,500 people which are off-grid (i.e., outside of the 12 public grids). Most of those villages are in remote areas, difficult to reach by road, and in many cases only accessible by boat. The cost of diesel in off-grid villages can be up to three times the cost in Georgetown.
Since 2012, through different programmes, the Government has provided Solar Home Systems for households, and small solar PV systems for schools, public buildings, and water pumps. These have included:
- The Guyana REDD+ Investment Fund (GRIF) funded project “ICT Access and E-Services For Hinterland, Poor and Remote Communities” is installing ICT Hubs in all 200+ Hinterland Villages between 2022 and 2023. The project includes the installation of an average of four-kWp solar PV system to power each ICT Hub.
- In 2020, the Guyana Energy Agency (GEA) installed a 72KW micro-grid at Moraikabai.
- A combined five kilowatts of solar PV was installed under the Rural Energy Project in Moraikobai, Powaikoru and Shulinab.
- In 2021, HECI completed the installation of 9 solar-powered mini-grids at Yarakita and Hotoquai, Region 1, Akawini, Bethany and Kabakaburi, Region 2, Chinoweng and Phillipai, Region 7, Monkey Mountain, Region 8 and Achiwib, Region 9.
- Installation of 9 Solar photovoltaic systems was completed in Region 1, during 2022, at the following locations: Arakaka Health Centre, Mabaruma Radio Station, Barima Kariabo Health Centre, Arakaka Primary School, Wauna Primary School, Red Hill Health Post, Santa Rosa Secondary School, Hobodiah Health Post and Moruca Health Centre.
- Installation of a solar PV system for the Quebenang Health Centre, Region 7 was completed in 2022 and 2 other installations at Kamwatta Primary School, Region 1 and Sand Creek Primary School, Region 9 will be completed in 2022.
Other work is in progress:
- Under the planned Solar Home System Project, with support from the Government of India, thirty thousand (30,000) 150-watt systems are expected to be installed in 2024.
- As part of the 2021 public budget, the Government approved the installation of 19 solar PV mini-grids for public and community buildings at Sebai, Karaburi, Kwebanna, Haimacabra, Baramita and Canal Bank of Region One; Wakapao, Capoey Mission, St. Monica and Tapakuma, of Region 2; Waramadong, Paruima and Jawalla of Region 7; Kurukubaru of Region 8; Annai, Karasabai, Aishalton and Kraudarnau of Region 9; and Riversview of Region 10.
- In 2021, Guyana signed a grant agreement with the International Solar Alliance for a solar demonstration project in Orealla, Region Six. This will see the installation of a 9kWp grid-tie solar photovoltaic system at the Orealla Health Centre and will be accompanied by a battery energy storage system of 37kWh.
- 13 solar PV installations were awarded in 2022 for the following locations: Ulele Primary School, Hackney Primary School, Mashabo Health Centre in Region 2; Santa Aratack Nursery/Primary Schools, Santa Aratack Health Centre and Saxacalli Health Centre in Region 3; Karrau Primary School, Batavia Primary School in Region 7; Sand Creek Nursery School and Teacher’s Quarters, Village Office and the Youth Multi-purpose Hall in Region 9; Falmouth Nursery/Primary School in Region 10.
The learnings during the implementation of those solar PV projects in the Hinterland will support the development of a larger programme to electrify all Hinterland villages. The electrification will be with the most technical and economically feasible solution (interconnection to a larger grid, solar PV and/or mini-hydro). The programme will include the enhancement of the productive usage of the energy to increase the longterm sustainability of the mini-grids.
It is estimated such a programme would cost US$313 million and could be implemented between 2023-2028. Work has now commenced on how to fund this programme including through the emerging carbon markets to support off-grid renewable energy.