Saint Lucia to solarise GG’s dwelling
The initiative will see to the installation of a 10kW grid-connected solar-photovoltaic system on Saint Lucia’s Government House, the official residence of the Governor General.
Making the announcement at the Paris climate-change meeting now underway in Le Bourget, Minister for Sustainable Development, Energy, Science and Technology Dr James Fletcher said: “The renewable energy revolution is essential and exciting. It allows vulnerable Small Island Developing States (SIDS) like ours to reduce public expenditure, stimulate and transform our economies, generate new jobs, while at the same time protect our environment. It is a winner on all fronts.”
“Project installation will be early next year, most likely February or March, and will take up to two weeks to carry out,” director of project development at Solar Head of State James Ellsmoor told the Jamaica Observer. “Once this is completed we will be inviting other Caribbean leaders to do similar installations on their own buildings.”
In 2014, Saint Lucia joined the Ten Island Challenge, a programme to accelerate the renewable energy transition in the Caribbean. This is an initiative of Sir Richard Branson’s Carbon War Room, a global incubator for clean energy entrepreneurship and the Rocky Mountain Institute, the world’s original clean-energy transition think-and-do tank.
Both Carbon War Room and Rocky Mountain Institute are among Solar Head of State’s partners. It also works with the Clinton Climate Foundation.
On the new inititative, Sir Richard Branson said: “I am delighted to see this initiative going ahead. It’s wonderful that island leaders are showing their commitment to a low carbon future in such a demonstrative way.”
Jules Kortenhorst, Chief Executive Officer of the Rocky Mountain Institute and Carbon War Room said, “Congratulations on Solar Head of State’s work in St Lucia. These efforts provide wonderful, tangible examples that solar should and does belong in the Caribbean.”
Solar Head of State was formed by a team of solar energy social entrepreneurs around the globe and offers solar systems freely to governments for use on the residences of heads of state or government. According to information on its website, the association operates from the premise that the solar system is a gift to the people of the particular country and by offering it, “the country’s leadership is given first-hand experience with the proven benefits of renewable technologies”.
“Each system is a demonstration project to inspire the mass adoption of solar energy and other renewable energy technologies by the citizens of the country and around the world. We aim to create an aspirational solar leadership club that inspires other leaders to follow suit by installing solar energy on their own executive residence’s and adopting favourable renewable energy policies,” the company says.
Solar Head of State funds its projects through donations from solar technology companies, local installers, major climate NGOs and foundations, as well as crowdfunding. Critically, though, it does not work with countries that: are listed among the worst human rights violators; privately own the country’s executive residence; or that attained power by military force.
In the case of St Lucia, the solar PV panels are being donated by Trina Solar, whose founder, Jifan Gao, is a leading figure in China’s booming solar industry.
“Saint Lucia is showing that it is time to take action and action starts at home,” said Maya Doolub, a member of Solar Head of State’s advisory board. “We call on other world leaders at the COP21 in Paris to show personal leadership by putting solar systems on their official residences.”
Saint Lucia’s Goverment House is a historic Victorian building at Morne Fortune on the outskirts of the capital Castries. It contains the Le Pavillon Royal Museum which documents state history from the early 17th century.