Families in hinterland regions across Guyana will benefit from solar power – some getting electricity for the very first time – as Guyana and India signed a US $7.2 million line-of-credit agreement to fund a project geared at powering 30,000 households.
This hinterland electrification project has been in the works for quite some time and during a recent cabinet outreach to Region Two (Pomeroon- Supenaam), President Dr. Irfaan Ali announced that the project had been approved by the Indian authorities.
And on Wednesday night, during a reception held at the Indian Cultural Centre in Georgetown, the credit agreement was signed by the Senior Minister within the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance Dr. Ashni Singh and High Commissioner of India to Guyana Dr. K. J. Srinivasa.
While providing brief remarks at the reception, Dr. Singh said that this project is part of the government’s wider developmental agenda but underscored that this specific one is quite meaningful.
“… To those 30,000 families, delivering electricity to their home for the first time will literally be the single biggest thing that will probably happen to them in an entire generation,” Dr. Singh posited.
He later dubbed this project as having a “truly transformative impact” on the lives of the people in those 30,000 Guyanese households, cognisant that scores of people are currently without electricity in their houses.
As per the project proposal, each household is expected to have its own solar panel, an inverter, and basic fittings. This means that each household would be able to generate electricity on a self-dependent basis.
The credit for the acquisition of the household solar power systems is being provided by India’s Exim bank. Previously, it was reported that the project cost US $10 million; it is unclear why there is a reduced figure.
Nevertheless, Dr, Singh said: “This project may not be the biggest project on the radar of the Ministry of External Affairs of India but this project will have a truly transformative impact for 30,000 Guyanese families.”
The government has acknowledged that there are certain disparities within hinterland regions and communities. As part of the PPP/C party’s manifesto, however, it was stated that efforts would be made to invest in solar and wind systems for off-grid areas and develop micro-grids for large villages.
Meanwhile, Dr. Srinivasa highlighted that Guyana and India have deep bilateral relations and he hopes that the two countries can continue to partner to improve the lives and livelihoods of people in both countries.