Antigua and Barbuda’s electricity sector has just got much closer to becoming the greenest in the whole of the Caribbean. The national target to generate 20 per cent of the required electricity from solar energy is almost tangible. Yesterday, the Government of Antigua and Barbuda together with the UK-based clean energy provider PV Energy Limited has officially inaugurated the 3 MWp solar power plant at the V.C. Bird International Airport of Antigua.
The Honourable Gaston Browne, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance and Corporate Governance stated in his speech: “This important initiative in the energy sector, utilizing state-of-the-art technologies, will allow us to reduce our foreign exchange outlays for imported fossil fuel, while developing our indigenous energy resources and contributing towards our goal of reducing our carbon footprint. The realization of the 10 MWp project means that our Manifesto pledge to achieve 20 per cent of our electricity from renewable energy is on target, and we are in fact likely to exceed that target making Antigua and Barbuda’s electricity sector possibly the greenest in the Caribbean.”
The sun2l ive solar plant installation at the V.C. Bird International Airport Antigua, developed and constructed by PV Energy Limited, plays a pivotal role in the clean energy strategy for Antigua and Barbuda. More than 12,000 top-tier polycrystalline photovoltaic panels generate up to 4.645 MWh per year and therefore save a substantial 3.019,50 tons of CO2 emissions during the same period and thus contribute to the goal of reducing the carbon footprint of the twin island state.
The ceremony at the solar power plant has been attended by well over 450 guests from more than 25 countries. PV Energy Limited has expressed its sincere appreciation of the many guests who attended and continued the celebrations with them after the inauguration ceremony, during a reception at a venue located close to the main airport building.
“The use of renewable energy sources shows the commitment of Antigua and Barbuda to defend and promote the values of sustainable development, to protect and respect the environment and to preserve it for future generations”, states Mr. Peter Virdee, Chairman of PV Energy Limited. “We are proud to support the Prime Minister’s supreme vision of creating a greener environment. With this pioneering project Antigua and Barbuda will set an example for the whole of the region.”
To supply airports with eco-friendly and clean solar power is an approach, which requires diligent and farsighted analysis and preparations. PV Energy Limited has carried out special glare studies, in order to avoid any glare hazard issues for pilots to ensure the safety regulations of the airport. Since airplanes and aerodromes are very sensitive to glare and any reflected sunlight from the solar panels, the ideal direction of the photovoltaic modules had to be defined; therefore, the layout of the solar power plant was adapted accordingly.
The Honourable Mr. Asot Michael, Minister of Tourism, Economic Development, Investment and Energy stated during his speech: “As we celebrate 34 years of independence, this successful harnessing of our indigenous resources for our national development takes us one step further along the path of sovereignty for which VC Bird, the Father of the nation, and other pioneers strived and fought.”
The 3 MWp solar power plant at the V.C. Bird International Airport is the first step on the path towards environmental sustainability on the Caribbean islands of Antigua and Barbuda, and further steps have already been initiated. Another PV solar power plant with a total capacity of 4 MWp will be installed in the Bethesda area on Antigua, as well as a 1 MWp solar power plant on the neighbouring island Barbuda, which will be soon installed by PV Ener gy Limited. In line with the agreed strategy of the Government of Antigua and Barbuda, to also make clean energy available in the twin island state during nighttime, and to stabilise the grid as well, a battery storage facility is also part of the agreed scope of supply of PV Energy Limited. Beyond that, PV Energy Limited will equip the roofs of more than 50 schools and other public buildings, with altogether 2 MWp sun2roof installations.