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Demand For Solar Solutions 'Never Been Greater'

BY NATARIO McKENZIE

Tribune Business Reporter

nmckenzie@tribunemedia.net

The demand for solar energy solutions in The Bahamas “has never been greater” in light of “stability” concerns over the Bahamas Electricity Corporation’s (BEC) grid a renewable energy solutions provider said yesterday, telling Tribune Business that this nation was effectively “underpowered”.

Phil Holdom, president of Alternative Power Supply, told Tribune Business yesterday that the government’s restructure of BEC would do nothing in the short term for the state of the corporation’s power grid. The Government had stated initially that its BEC reform plan, which is the first step in liberalising the Bahamian energy sector, involved splitting the Corporation into two - between its generation/transmission and distribution assets.

“This country is underpowered and we are about to put on one of the largest resort developments in the Caribbean. The demand for solar has never been greater especially in light of the recent outages. People not only want to reduce their bills they want to have backup power. We think there is a tremendous amount of interest because their is great concern for the electricity grid on this island. We could do even more business but there is uncertainty between with regards to renewable energy,” said Mr Holdom.

Mr Holdom reiterated his disappointment at the government’s decision not to allow commercial entities to install grid-tied systems. The benefit of tying into the grid is that the consumer can offload extra power produced into the national grid rather than needing batteries to store it, which can be the most expensive component of a renewable system.”BEC is telling us we can’t do certain systems and yet the government themselves is putting in those systems. What message does that send?” questioned Mr Smith, referring to to the Bahamas Agricultural & Industrial Corporation’s (BAIC) new headquarters.

“The rest of the world has been doing grid-tied systems for 30-40 years.

What they have effectively down is eliminated the most cost effective solar system that a person can install. For some reason the government can install it on their government buildings so how do you explain that? Its a system with no batteries so it’s the least costly about half the cost of a system that utilises batteries. It’s also modular so your an install whatever your budget allows,” said Mr Holdom.

The government has indicated it is targeting 30 percent of power in The Bahamas being produced from renewable energy by 2030 – from a mix of residential, commercial and utility-scale providers. The government intends to create either a net billing or net metering system with a grid tie-in, via a legislative update, to incentivise renewable energy. The government has indicated that it will not allow commercial entities to tie their renewable systems into the grid in the “short term”.

Comments

ThisIsOurs 4 years, 4 months ago

It's not that they don't want to do it, they're just stalling for time to give their people the opportunity to set up shop. Look at Renew Bahamas, prime example of a waste of a company given a lucrative contract over established businesses to the financial benefit of...?

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Sickened 4 years, 4 months ago

You got it right on the money. This and former Governments are friggin crooks! How could a company who had been in business, I mean incorporated, for 6 months, with no cash (to fuel the equipment) get the dump contract over a conglomerate of well established Bahamian companies? It sicken's me to the core.

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happyfly 4 years, 4 months ago

The PLP is getting ready to sell BEC to the Chinese in a deal that will set back solar in this country for another generation. It ain't about what's good for the Bahamas, it's about who can fill the politico's bottomless pockets and these small scale alternatives can't come up with the kind of cash that selling out BEC can.

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sheeprunner12 4 years, 4 months ago

For a developing tropical multi-island nation ............. we are not using our natural resources. Solar energy systems should be a no-brainer ............ wind and tidal flow systems should be #2, #3. This (BEC) is the single largest impediment to positive future economic growth in The Bahamas

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digimagination 4 years, 4 months ago

Oh how the worm turns! It wasn't that long ago that BEC wouldn't LET you install solar panels with a view to saving energy because it was a loss of revenue to them. Have they now seen the light? (No pun).

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crawfish 4 years, 4 months ago

In fact, the Government SHOULD be encouraging consumers to install solar panels, AND connect them (properly) to the BEC grid.

In addition Solar Farms should be set up on each populated Island to supplement the existing BEC grid. This would minimize outages, and would represent a much cheaper electrical cost.

The Christie Government should move on this post haste.

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The_Oracle 4 years, 4 months ago

Connecting grid tied solar is a no brainer, there is a whole section of the Canadian Electrical code (the code we observe) dedicated to Grid tied solar. This is not rocket science folks, nor voodoo. BEC just doesn't want to lose control. Plus, grid tied solar equipment will show just how bad the phase angle is, and how erratic the cycles are. The Government doesn't want to lose the few paying customers they have. In Grand Bahama Emera does not want it either, but in Canada they have a very friendly Solar grid tied policy. Go figure. Meanwhile, back at the Government ranch, things are piling up. Still no policy.

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totherisingsun 4 years, 3 months ago

The local grid is no longer dependable. It is time to go off grid with solar and batteries. Stable, continuous power without politics and other factors. Independence and autonomy is freedom.

Lift up your heads to...

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