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The VOCTEC/ASU delegation was led by Delia Saenz, vice provost for International Education & Institutional Inclusion, and included professors Govindasamy Tamizhmani and Martin Pasqualetti, and Ujjwal Bhattacharjee from Tetra Tech, an infrastructure development company that also works closely with USAID.
“Sustainability of solar photovoltaic systems means more than just proper technical design and implementation and supportive renewable energy policies,” said Saenz. “Long-term success requires buy-in from the local community, as well as social and gender awareness and inclusion.”
The workshop was designed and organized in close coordination with the USAID Mission in Guyana and the Guyana Energy Agency. A forum for Ministers and other high-level government officials was followed by interactive working sessions with representatives from ministries, energy agencies, public and private organizations and educational institutions.
In his opening remarks, U.S. Ambassador to Guyana, Brent Hardt, outlined the United States Government’s ongoing support and assistance to the Government of Guyana’s efforts to strengthen its public health systems to sustain an effective response to HIV/AIDS and other diseases under the PEPFAR, the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. He stressed the importance of reliable, affordable and clean energy as a component of this effort.
Prime Minister Samuel Hinds subsequently described Guyana’s continuing journey towards renewable energy and a low carbon economy and welcomed the timely opportunity to learn and discuss long-term technical, institutional and socio-economic sustainability of solar technologies with the ASU/Tetra Tech delegation.
The workshop confirmed the need for further capacity building in Guyana, with many participants calling for coordinated PV training and education on both the national and local level. Awareness building and the inclusion of rural communities and end-users in the project planning, design and implementation of projects was also a major lesson learned.