Four Prisoners and six Prison Officers at the Belle Isle Correctional Facility have been trained in solar photovoltaic (PV) installation and maintenance. This is according to Superintendent of Prisons, Mr. Brenton Charles, at the ceremony to launch the Belle Isle Correctional Facility’s solar PV system, on Tuesday 2nd May, 2017.
The Energy Unit and the Promoting Access to Clean Energy Services in St. Vincent and the Grenadines (PACES) project, in collaboration with the Ministry of National Security, Air and Sea Port Development and the United Nations Development Project (UNDP) spearheaded the solar PV installation.
In his opening address, Director of the Energy Unit, Mr. Ellsworth Dacon, said he was pleased to see another project on the ground. This project, Mr. Dacon said, would limit greenhouse gas emissions by use of an indigenous resource.
The 50 kW solar PV system at the Belle Isle Correctional Facility translates to over $30, 000.00 in savings annually, Dacon said. In total, the PACES project has sponsored thirteen Vincentians to become solar PV installers, Dacon disclosed.
Dacon said that public awareness is one of their major challenges his unit faces, adding that more households need to become aware of the benefits of using solar energy.
In the near future, Dacon said that a 200 kW solar PV system would be installed at the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Community College (SVGCC) and a 500 kW at the Argyle International Airport.
He hopes that the Grenadines will soon become 100% renewable.
The Director of the Energy Unit expressed thanks to St. Vincent Electricity Services Ltd. (VINLEC), Constructor, Dr. David Bristol, UNDP, prisons staff, and prisoners, among others whose support made the solar PV installation a success.
The installation of the solar PV will greatly reduce our energy bill and support our programmes to develop inmates, stated Superintendent of Prisons, Mr. Brenton Charles. Mr. Charles noted that six members of his staff and four prisoners were also trained to maintain PV. Charles said the following four prisoners will receive certificates in practical basic solar photovoltaic installation: Mr. Augustus Pierre, Mr. Damian Bristol, Mr. Jonathon Browne and Mr. Noel Bynoe.
The Prison Superintendent expressed hope that the training would make inmates more productive citizens when they return to society.
Jason LaCorbinière, Programme Specialist for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, delivered remarks on behalf of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative for Barbados and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), Mr. Stephen O’Malley.
Mr. LaCorbinière described St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) as being among the leaders in the solar PV transition effort in the OECS. The UNDP representative mentioned that the Government’s thrust to increase solar PV use across St. Vincent and the Grenadines will create sustainable cities and communities.
Mr LaCorbinière added that the UNDP is pleased to be a partner in this ambitious project through the PACES project and will continue to support SVG’s attempts to reduce carbon emission rates over the coming years.