May 26, 2022

Renewables replace traditional flambeau lamps in Guyana’s Hinterland

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horace-williams-700x467From Caribbean News Service

PUNTA CANA, Dominica Republic, Nov 17 2016 – It hasn’t been easy, but Guyanese authorities say they are moving ahead with plans to electrify the most remote and rural parts of the country.

A low demand for electricity, the inability of residents to pay for the service, sparsely populated areas, inaccessibility and limited renewable energy services means that these residents have been kept in the dark all their lives.

Chief Executive Officer of the Hinterland Electrical Company Inc. Horace Williams is well aware of those challenges.

However, his company has found a workable solution by the use of solar home systems in communities which have depended on dangerous flambeau laps for light.

“We focused on the primary needs of the households and so we provided improved lighting so they won’t have to use the flambeau anymore,” Williams told a Smart Villages workshop here.

He said the solar lighting has already resulted in an improvement in the quality of life for secluded communities because “they were able to read, study, do craft and sewing after dawn.

“And they also had enough power for communication, charging cell phones, and operating radios and portable CD players,” Williams added.

The local government through the village council has been left in charge of the projects to ensure they continue.

Residents were also trained to maintain the solar systems according to Williams, who is also an employee of Guyana’s Ministry of Public Infrastructure.

He told delegates at today’s workshop that part of the US$8 which residents spent on the kerosene lamps is now being used to maintain the solar systems.

What started off as a pilot project in 2007 with 327 homes, has now resulted in a success story which has seen more than 20,000 households in the hinterland being provided with electrical lighting.

While the initiative started off with small solar panels, where available, wind and hydro have also been used to power up communities which have existed for decades without safe and effective lighting.

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