Formal Launch of Saint Lucia’s Photovoltaic Project

The formal launch of the Saint Lucia Banana Industry Trust‘s (BIT) Photovoltaic Project took place on Thursday 13th  August 2009. The event was held at the headquarters of the National Trust at Pigeon Island, one of the beneficiary sites of the project. This project is among several sustainable development focused initiatives undertaken by the BIT with the assistance of the European Union Special Framework of Assistance for 2003. In addressing the persons and the media present, Director of the National Trust, Bishnu Tulsie reiterated the Trust’s intention to reduce its carbon footprint by incorporating the use of renewable energy of the Trusts’ properties. Solar energy is not the only option that the Trust is pursuing, as they have also expressed an interest in wind energy.

Photograph of Installation

Photograph of Installation

In his address Chief Sustainable Development and Environment Officer, Crispin d’Auvergne reminded the audience that PV was formally introduced in Saint Lucia in 1999. Although this launch, the next significant step in PV nationally, took nearly a decade to achieve, it represented landmark in the history of renewable energy country in the country. The PV system in this case will be connected to the grid quite aside from the stand alone systems previously installed. Under this arrangement it is envisioned that any excess electricity produced at the sites will be fed into the grid. Although this is only a small contribution for now, it means that Saint Lucia’s grid is no longer totally dependent on electricity generated from fossil fuels.

The discussions on renewable energy in the Caribbean region have been ongoing for decades and it appears that such technologies are slowly penetrating the regional market. At a recent geothermal conference in Nevis, the island stated its intention of having electricity generated from geothermal sources on the grid by the end of 2010. Saint Lucia is continuing its efforts towards have a greater percentage of renewable energy on the grid. Wind and geothermal energy remain the most viable options for the country. Energy policy and energy efficiency are other areas where the country is hoping to make progress in the upcoming months.