400MW Mabaruma solar farm soon

A section of the solar farm at Khan’s Hill, Mabaruma during misty conditions.  

THE 400MW solar farm at Khan’s Hill in the town of Mabaruma in the North West District will be commissioned soon as the contractor is working to synchronise the power supply offered by the facility with the power grid there.

Minister of Public Infrastructure David Patterson told the Department of Public Information (DPI) that the automatic switching from the solar power to generator power during cloudy days or during the rainy season is being synchronised.

“The system is a hybrid system whereby during the day when the sun is up the whole town would be powered by the solar farm. Solar is intermittent so therefore, you may be having a 100 percent solar, then a cloud passes over and you drop from 100 to 80 percent. On a cloudy or overcast day, the difference between what the solar power is producing and what the town needs will have to be augmented by the generator,” Minister Patterson related.
The construction and installation of equipment on the the $264Million solar farm has been completed.

According to Minister Patterson, there are half-hour storage batteries in place. In instances when it area experiencing overcast conditions for more than half of an hour, the generator will automatically switch on. “It [solar farm] produces 400 kilowatts so we have batteries for 400 kilowatts for half an hour if there is no sun. On the 31st minute, the batteries would die and the generator is will switch on and power the town; that switching has not been synchronised so when the generator is on it takes all the load as opposed to waiting until the battery runs dead,” Minister Patterson said.

The DPI said that the contractor is working assiduously to complete finalising the switching mechanism so that the solar farm can be commissioned. In the interim, the town is being run by power generated intermittently by the farm as well as by generator.

The initiative is part of the government’s plan to move Guyana towards becoming a ‘Green State’ and will serve as a medium to reduce the country’s fossil fuel bill and prevent carbon emissions. Other solar farms at Lethem in Region Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo); Mahdia in Region Eight (Potaro-Siparuni) and at Bartica in Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni) are on the cards.