By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
A Bahamian solar energy provider yesterday branded "gird-interactive" systems as ideal for The Bahamas while bemoaning the eight-month wait for solar installations to be approved.
Philip Holdom, president of Alternative Power Supply (APS), told the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce & Employers Confederation's Energy Security Forum: "As a nation we need to have battery-based systems. We cannot do pure grid-tie. We need containerised battery solutions. Everyone who knows about solar would know the advantages.
"We have done the economies of scale on it, and it's economically feasible. The most common system we have installed and recommended for The Bahamas is a grid interactive system; it has batteries and, also if the grid browns out, it can switch over to batteries and can also sell power."
Mr Holdom continued: "If regulators and legislators would listen we can do great things in this country. We pushed for the SSRG (Small Scale Residential Generation) programme, and we're glad it's here. Unfortunately, when government takes over things they can be the 900-pound elephant. They have created a process that is six steps long.
"The average time to get a solar system passed is eight months. We will install a system in between 24 hours and three days. You have a solar system sitting on your roof, and you have to wait eight months. If you turn it on before they give you the new meter you could be in trouble because our meters are so old. If you spin the meter back your bill could actually go up."
According to Mr Holdom, the typical rate of return on a small scale, grid-tied solar system is 18-20 percent. "If you introduce batteries there is an eight to ten percent return. What you get in addition to that is clean power all the time," he added.
Mr Holdom said one of the challenges facing The Bahamas is that many homes are extremely energy inefficient. "It makes no sense putting solar on a home that is energy inefficient," he added. "You might as well take money and burn it."
Mr Holdom also noted there was no certification for solar installations in The Bahamas, although renewable energy providers were trying to create that process.