CARICOM Secretariat Launches Solar Project at Headquarters

Turning the sod (from left) Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque; Minister of Public Infrastructure, Guyana, Hon David Patterson; Minister of Foreign Affairs, Guyana, Dr. Hon. Karen Cummings; Japan’s Ambassador to CARICOM and Guyana H.E. Mr. Tatsuo Hirayama.

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Tuesday January 21, 2020 – A project that will see the CARICOM Secretariat’s Headquarters Building in Georgetown, Guyana generating 100 per cent of its electricity needs through a Photovoltaic Power Generation System has been launched.

The project, being funded by the Government of Japan, will include: installation of 400 kilowatt of solar photovoltaic power generator to provide electricity to the Secretariat building; a battery and power conditioning system for energy storage and power quality regulation; and an advanced building energy management system to, among other things, provide air conditioning controls and track energy efficiency and indoor air quality.

The planning is being coordinated by the CARICOM Energy Committee chaired by Deputy Secretary-General Ambassador Manorma Soeknandan.

CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque said that over the last decade, renewable energy and energy efficiency have been on the forefront of the region’s agenda.

Noting that, globally, the building sector is the largest energy-consuming sector and is equally a major contributor to carbon dioxide emissions, he said buildings within CARICOM account for nearly 80 per cent of electricity usage.

“This is, in part, due to our climatic conditions, as well as design, with buildings requiring significant amounts of cooling and humidity control. The increasing attention to climate change and energy costs within the region has focused attention on energy use in buildings,” he said.

CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque addressing the ceremony.

Ambassador LaRocque said the photovoltaic power generation project marks another milestone in the history of the CARICOM Secretariat, and in the relationship between Japan and CARICOM.

He recalled the green buildings initiative and the first Energy Audit of the Secretariat in 2010 which laid the initial groundwork for the journey to energy efficiency.

“It was an initiative fully supported by the Executive Management of the Secretariat, who urged that our headquarters should be a green building as an example to other public buildings in the Community. Now, with the help of the Government of Japan, we are on the way to achieving that objective,” LaRocque said.

“We are breaking ground today in front of our beautiful headquarters building which was built by the Government of Guyana, for which we are eternally grateful, with considerable financial support from the Government of Japan.”

Ambassador LaRocque noted that Japan has supported a significant number of initiatives in disaster management, climate resilience and sustainable energy in the region, and thanked the government for its continued support.

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