Government House, Saint LUcia
The Government of Saint Lucia has a target of generating 35% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020. This pristine island currently depends on dirty diesel generators for power, but has ambitious goals to revolutionize its economy with solar, wind, and geothermal energy. Solar represents the easiest attainable resource, and Saint Lucia is already famous for its sunshine, which draws visitors from around the world.
To mark the start of its own renewable revolution the Government of Saint Lucia has partnered with the nonprofit Solar Head of State to install solar panels on the public residence of the Governor-General, Government House.
Saint Lucia emits just 0.0015% fraction of global carbon emissions, but by leading on renewable energy the island can take a strong moral stance and showcase solutions for larger nations to follow. The 5.4kW grid-tied system on Government will save 100 tons of carbon in its lifetime and save the government roughly US$150,000.
Saint Lucia was among a group of 15 climate vulnerable countries which together became the first nations to ratify the Paris Agreement in April 2016. As a small island developing state (SIDS) Saint Lucia is particularly vulnerable to climate change, facing damage from rising sea levels and increasingly strong and frequent tropical storms.
The plan will also help to reduce energy costs for citizens of Saint Lucia which, like most island nations, suffers from astronomically high electricity costs that hinder economic development. The government, in collaboration with the local electricity utility LUCELEC, is currently completing the bidding process on its first utility scale installation, a 3MW solar PV facility that will power 5-8% of the national energy demand.
Solar Head of State assembled an international consortium of project donors from across the clean energy sector to carry out the project. The engineering and construction was donated by British Virgin Islands based Solar Island Energy and Saint Lucian company Noah Energy. Major contributions were received from California-based solar installation company Sungevity and from the California Clean Energy Fund. Panels were donated by manufacturer Trina Solar and inverters from Enphase Energy. Support was also received from Elms Consulting, a London-based strategic consulting firm working to accelerate sustainable development on islands. Australian firms Wattwatchers and Solar Analytics provided system-monitoring expertise and equipment.
Sir Richard Branson, a long-time supporter of Caribbean efforts to use renewable energy commented "It’s wonderful to see this type of leadership for a cleaner and brighter future in this region that I love so much - and from a small island too! Congratulations, Saint Lucia and Solar Head of State on this fantastic initiative that sends a positive and strong message to the world."