Solar Head of State (SHOS) and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Commission have established a partnership to develop and implement a regional strategy to demonstrate leadership in adopting and implementing renewable energy sources. The partnership will focus on four main objectives: climate resilience, grid integration, energy independence, and public education on solar energy.
This will be implemented through the installation of 12 photovoltaic power systems and battery energy storage systems on key government buildings in OECS Member States as well as the OECS Headquarters. Each installation, averaging 15kw in size, will be coupled with a media strategy to promote knowledge of and support for the benefits of renewable energy among both political stakeholders and the general public. SHOS estimates that each installation will employ 10 local workers. SHOS aims to also pair at least two of the installations with national clean energy policy announcements.
SHOS will provide procurement and project management support. To support capacity building on the islands, SHOS, with its project partners, will also deliver training for local workers, who will assist the installation of the system. Approximately five on-site staff at each facility will also receive training related to operation and maintenance. Furthermore, SHOS will work with facility managers to develop preparedness plans to ensure the operational success of the systems.
SHOS will leverage its network of private sector partners in the renewable energy to provide in-kind donations of solar and battery equipment. SHOS will launch media campaigns, centered around opening ceremonies, to spread awareness about each project, and the benefits of clean energy to the region and internationally.
The OECS Commission will facilitate the relationships with Members States and promote a regional sustainable development agenda. The OECS Commission also commits to fundraise, with the help of other multilaterals, to secure the necessary project funding.
OECS has already preliminary approached each of the Member States included in this commitment through its OECS Energy Policy Program.
The projects are intended to be developed in two tranches as described below:
July 2019 to September 2019: Fundraising, partner and donor identification and engagement.
September 2019 to December 2019: Tranche 1 (first six locations). Establish on-island contacts/champions and work through facility identification and feasibility.
December 2019 to March 2020: Complete systems design and tender process for procurement and engagement of local installation partners.
March 2020 to June 2020: Implement Tranche 1 installation projects; train local staff and create of preparedness plans; plan public engagement and media campaigns.
June 2020 to August 2020: Dedicate and unveil Tranche 1 projects and conduct media and related events.
August 2020 to October 2020 Establish Tranche 2 (second six locations) on-island contacts and conduct feasibility.
October 2020 to January 2021: Complete Tranche 2 systems design and tender process for procurement and engagement of local installation partners.
January 2021 to April 2021: Implement Tranche 2 installation projects; train local staff and create preparedness plans; plan public engagement and media campaigns.
April 2021 to July 2021: Dedicate and unveil Tranche 2 projects and conduct media and related events.
Despite emitting a relatively negligible share of global greenhouse gases, Small Island Nations around the world are the most vulnerable as they confront climate change, sea level rise, hurricanes, and other extreme weather events. Very often, new reports emphasize the severe danger posed to island nations by natural disasters, which cause irreversible social and economic consequences that impact local lives. These natural disasters are more frequent and stronger because of global warming. They have devastated already fragile national electric grids, leaving entire small island nations without electricity and basic necessities such as food, transportation, and access to healthcare. As a result, many people have lost their lives, and the impacts of natural disasters have fallen the hardest on populations with the most significant vulnerabilities, particularly low-income communities, individuals with chronic health conditions, and the elderly. Furthermore, islands nations have been heavily reliant on imported fossils fuels, resulting in CO2 emissions and electricity prices far higher than non-island counterparts. Transitioning to renewable energy sources is crucial to reduce these negative consequences. Now more than ever, the international community has embraced a consensus that soon there will be no turning point for the unprecedented and dangerous implications of a changing climate.
Small island nations have the chance to lead by example by transitioning to clean, renewable energy sources and building more resilient grids. With the abundance of strong solar resources across many island regions, solar PV generation holds particular promise when it comes to reducing carbon emissions, eliminating dependence on fuel imports, creating resilience, and building economic growth around sustainable development. In order to lead by example and catalyze nation-wide change, political leaders can publicly showcase their commitment to clean energy with high-profile solar power installations.
Since the “Solar Energy for Key Government Buildings in the OECS” program is the development of 12 independent projects, SHOS welcomes partnerships with local entities in each OECS Member State and international institutions that believe in its mission. In particular, SHOS is seeking support from donors who could donate equipment such as battery storage systems, inverters, and racking. SHOS is now looking for donor partners to finance the remainder of the project, including purchase of additional equipment, shipment and imports costs, legal costs, and impact studies. SHOS welcomes any help in facilitating the engagement with local utilities and local solar installers within the OECS member states.
The OECS & SHOS partnership can offer a variety of benefits to the GCI community. OECS could share best practices in areas of expertise such as fiscal policy harmonization; adoption of a common approach to trade, health and environment; as well as encouraging the development of critical economic sectors. OECS establishes strategic partnerships with regional and international partners that support the development of such agenda to promote unity and solidarity.
SHOS is a non-profit organization with the mandate to collaborate with national governments to demonstrate leadership on the implementation of the sustainable energy agenda. SHOS currently operates mainly in the Caribbean and soon in the Pacific region, and therefore can contribute a network of local governments in the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and local NGOs involved in sustainability; and share expertise in the field of solar energy, engineering and public engagement for the promotion of renewable energy.