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Eastern Caribbean solar energy initiative to be launched next week

The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) is to launch a renewable energy initiative on Thursday next week.

The Eastern Caribbean Solar Challenge proposes, in the first instance, at least five megawatts

(MW) of new small-to-medium photovoltaic installations by 2025, with an interim target, by 2023, of at least 1.5 MW comprising 0.45MW on public building and 1.05 MW on the private sector and residential buildings.

The St. Lucia-based OECS Commission said that solar electricity has become one of the most cost-effective forms of renewable energy, worldwide.

“Because the Caribbean is blessed with more than 200 days of sunlight annually, it is well-positioned to take advantage of the solar revolution. The Eastern Caribbean Solar Challenge aims to increase the use of solar electricity (also known as photovoltaics or PV) in OECS member states through the combined efforts of governments, the private sector, financial institutions, homeowners and development partners, and is open to all.”

The OECS groups the islands of Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Kitts-Nevis, Montserrat, Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands.

The OECS Commission said that one element of the challenge that sets it apart is its focus on small and medium-scale PV installations.

“Another unique element is the deliberate inclusion of the private sector and households which, traditionally, have not been engaged in such initiatives but which have the ability to make a significant contribution.”

The Eastern Caribbean Solar Challenge is a special project of the Caribbean NDC Finance Initiative (NDCFI).

The NDCFI was launched in 2017 by the OECS and the St. Lucia government and serves all OECS member states. It was established with the political support of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), under the auspices of the NDC Partnership and with financial support from GIZ.

The Eastern Caribbean Solar Challenge: “Race to the Sun” aims to engage governments, the private sector, development partners and households in a united effort to increase the diffusion of solar electricity and heating across the region by the end of 2023, in the first instance.

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