PACES Project Launches 50kW Solar Photovoltaic System at the Belle Isle Correctional Facility

May 8, 2017

The GEF/UNDP Promoting Access to Clean Energy Services in St Vincent and the Grenadines (PACES) Project, launched a 50kW Solar Photovoltaic system at the Belle Isle Correctional Facility on Tuesday May 2, 2017. The event took place on the grounds of the correctional facility and was attended by forty four (44) participants.

Participants included; Prime Minister, Doctor the Honourable Ralph E. Gonsalves, Mr. Jason LaCorbiniere – representative from the UNDP Barbados and OECS, Mr. Godfred Pompey – Permanent Secretary Ministry of National Security, Air and Sea Ports Authority, Mr. Brenton Charles - Superintendent of Prisons, Dr. Jerrol Thompson - Chairman of the National Energy Committee, and Mr. Ellsworth Dacon – Director of Energy. In attendance were also; a representative from Gearing Up Global, the staff and inmates of the Belle Isle Correctional Facility, staff of the Energy Unit and media houses.

Addresses were made by the Director of Energy, Superintendent of Prisons, representative for UNDP Barbados and the OECS, and the Prime Minister. Each speaker spoke on issues of energy within the scope of their portfolio and organisation which they represented.

The feature address presented by the Prime Minister cemented the points made by the event’s speakers. He underlined the development of the prison system from H.M Prison where inmates were simply isolated from society to the Belle Isle Correctional Facility where progressive efforts are made to rehabilitate inmates through both academic and technical/skills based programmes. Renewable energy was highlighted as a pathway for development in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, however as with all things there must be balance with resource exploitation. It was mentioned that no further development of hydro plants can be realised without affecting the water supply and hence having social impacts. Therefore, in addition to the current ongoing geothermal exploration project further investments were called for in the area of solar photovoltaic development.

The 50kW system will save the prison an estimated $3,300.00 in electricity costs, and abate approximately 58 tonnes of CO2e annually, thereby reducing the operational cost of the prison and contributing to the global effort to mitigate climate change.