Planning Minister says Solar Farm project at Piarco progressing steadily

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Planning Minister says Solar Farm project at Piarco progressing steadily

Everything has been progressing steadily at the Piarco International Airport as it pertains to the installation of this country’s first ever Solar Farm Project.

This revelation was made via a statement by Planning and Development Minister Pennelope Beckles.

She said the Solar Farm project, in collaboration with the European Union’s Global Climate Change Alliance Plus (GCCA+), has been progressing steadily at the Piarco Airport during February and March.

Beckles noted that several technical tasks have been completed, such as the installation of 25 tonnes of photovoltaic (PV) ground mounted structures, 960 PV modules, a transformer and high voltage cables.

Also being installed are fibre-optic cables, inverters as well as a drainage system.

The minister said the aim of this initiative is to increase the availability and use of energy from renewable sources, as well as to increase the efficiency levels in the consumption of energy in Trinidad and Tobago.

She said, “Such ventures will provide ample scope for reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions locally. This contributes to the fulfilment of our goals regarding Sustainable Development Goal 7, Affordable and Clean Energy, as well as our commitment to Trinidad and Tobago’s National Development Strategy, Vision 2030, to Place the Environment at the Centre of Social and Economic Development, articulated in Theme Five.”

GCCA+ is a flagship initiative of the European Union, geared towards providing support to address the issue of climate change.

Trinidad and Tobago, through the Ministry of Planning and Development’s European Development Fund Unit, was able to partner with the Delegation of the European Union, to ensure “we designed projects allowing access to the GCCA+ programme contributing to the achievement of our Nationally Determined Contribution or NDC according to the Paris Agreement,” she said.

The solar farm, which is managed by the Airports Authority, will consist of ground-mounted solar panels installed over an area of 1.54 hectares with an annual generation capacity of 767,034 kilowatt-hours (kWh), which represents 3.6 per cent of the total amount of electricity consumed at the Piarco International Airport. This project could potentially reduce annual emissions of carbon dioxide by 500 metric tonnes and contribute to an overall reduction in Trinidad and Tobago’s carbon footprint.

The minister said the next steps for the project include the completion of electrical wiring, drainage and grounding systems; installation of Inverters, SCADA and CCTV system as well as the pre-commissioning process, which is expected to commence at the end of March 2023.