– as GEA advances transition to renewables
A number of organisations have been embracing the notion of green energy. Green energy comes
from natural sources such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, plants, algae and geothermal heat. These energy resources are renewable, meaning they are naturally replenished.
Among the organisations that have started to embrace the notion of green energy is the Texila American University [TAU]. This has been particularly event at the institution’s Providence building which is designed to be fully green-compliant.
This development has been substantiated by the institution’s Vice President of International Operations, Mr. Ashok Kumar.
During an interview, he revealed that “one of the ideas was to ensure that the building is as [green] energy efficient as possible. This included looking into the key areas of natural light which directly impacts on the energy used in the building. We had experts who designed it in a way so that we can get [natural] light all the time.”
According to Kumar too, this design has even been incorporated into the air conditioning system that has been set up in its 100,000 square foot building, designed to cater to at least 1,000 students.
“If you look at the air conditioning system which we have implemented, it is a recent and modern technology which has some initial [high] investment but gives a lot of returns in the long run.”
But Kumar noted that despite all of the energy-driven measures, the institution has plans to put in place a solar panel system. This is in light of the fact that “we have also designed it [the building] to run with solar…right now we have the design for solar energy, but we have not implemented it as yet.”
“Other things we are looking at before we implement this, is how we can get the system where we can give back the excess amount of electricity to the grid. What experts have advised us is that when we are looking at an amount that we can power the entire building [with], obviously we will have an excess which should be given to the grid,” Kumar explained.
He continued by pointing out that “the generation of these other sources will not be able to absorb all the excess load, so we will be looking forward very soon to do this…and government is also coming up with new regulations with respect to solar, so we are looking to see how quickly we can go completely solar,” Kumar added.
Currently, Government’s energy regulating arm, the Guyana Energy Agency [GEA], has been vigorously promoting the use of solar energy.
In this regard, GEA recently revealed that in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, it has commenced the installation of nine grid-connected solar photovoltaic (PV) systems at public institutions. The target institutions are mainly secondary schools across the country which will produce an estimated 124,321 kWh of energy annually.
The installations, expected to be completed by the end of April 2017, were initiated as a direct response to President David Granger’s vision to have the Government of Guyana lead the way in transitioning towards greater renewable energy use by having every government building, including schools, converted to utilising alternative sources of energy over the next five years.
The entities were recently outfitted with the solar systems are the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs Scholarship Hostel and eight secondary schools: Leguan, Leonora, Hope, Diamond, Stewartville, Richard Ishmael, West Demerara and Bladen Hall.
According to Mr. Leon DeSouza, the lead Engineer on the project “…the Institutions were chosen from among those that GEA would have conducted energy assessments at, and based on the size of the systems they would require.”
GEA, he disclosed, was responsible for procuring and installation oversight of the PV systems.
The components of the installed systems are PV modules, inverters and protection devices. The PV modules and grid-connected inverters, which are the main components, have a lifespan of 25 years and 10 years respectively.
At a total cost of G$48,959,883, the project will aid in the avoidance of 87,025 kg of carbon dioxide emissions and will result in savings of approximately G$8,336,330 annually, with a simple payback period of about 5.8 years.
Photovoltaic (PV) technology harnesses the sun’s energy by converting it into electricity. With the abundance of sunlight in Guyana, and the region at large, solar PV Systems are a very attractive alternative to fossil fuel-generated electricity, as PV panels provide clean – green energy, which is also environmentally-friendly, owing to the fact that during electricity generation (with PV panels) there are no harmful greenhouse gas emissions.
As part of the realisation of the vision to provide reliable energy in an environmentally, socially and sustainable framework, GEA has announced that it intends to conduct similar exercises at other public institutions in Guyana. The Agency will also continue to provide technical support, monitoring and training in the use and operation of the systems.
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