Suriname to host its first MW-sized PV projects

The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has announced that it has partnered with the government of Suriname to finance a project aimed at expanding the country’s grid capabilities, which also includes the construction of three PV power plants.

The CDB said the project will entail the upgrade of 36.6 kilometres of sub-transmission and distribution lines, the construction of five new substations, the expansion or upgrade of three existing substations, and the construction of three solar facilities.

Two of the PV plants will be located in the Nickerie district, on the north-west coast, while another facility will be installed in Coronie, in the northern part of the country. The entire project will be implemented by local power utility N.V. EnergieBedrijven Suriname (EBS).

“We can assure you that with the loan of $65 million to the Suriname Government on behalf of the NV EBS and with our own contribution of $32 million we took a serious step in the positive direction to make the electrical infrastructure of Suriname healthy again,” said EBS CEO Rabindre Parmessar.

The project’s total required investment is $98 million. CDB is providing financing through a loan of $65 million, and the additional $33 million will be provided by the Government of Suriname and EBS.

Meanwhile, local press reports that U.S. solar company Solarreserve is also planning to build a 100 MW solar plant in the country. The articles, however, do not clarify if the project would rely on PV or CSP technology, of which Solarreserve is a specialist, although the company has also built several PV power plants over the past few years. The project is named the Suriname Solar Energie project and is expected to cost $175 million.

Suriname’s power system is currently largely based on hydropower and fossil fuel plants. According to IRENA, Suriname has a target of 20%, 28% and 47% renewable electricity generation to be reached by 2017, 2022 and 2027 respectively.