Above: Solar panels in Andros, Bahamas
The Bahamas is starting a large-scale initiative to install solar water heaters across the country, as part of the country’s National Energy Policy. The turn to solar power is part of an effort to make a $570 million expansion plan quoted by the Inter-American Development Bank more affordable, according to Environment Minister Phenton Neymour.
“When we came to office, we had to look at ways to reduce that expansion plan and at the same time provide for the growing market we have right now in the Bahamas,” he said. “That review was completed. It’s been analysed by the BEC. It’s also been used by the government in establishing some of its new initiatives over the last two years.”
Part of that analysis involved looking at the energy sector, he said. The government’s rolled out the first phase of its National Energy Policy by publicly distributing hundreds of thousands of compact fluorescent lamps. “It was very clear to me that we needed to establish a clear direction for this country moving forward in regards to energy and where we are going in regards to providing it for Bahamians,” Neymour said.
In mid-June, local contractors, along with workers from the Bahamas Electricity Corporation, Department of Environmental Health and the Ministry of Works took part in a pilot project sponsored by the IDB called “Implementing Sustainable Energy Projects.” Part of that training involved a seminar on solar photovoltaic systems installation with Alternative Power Sources, a company that has installed solar panels in Jamaica.
The solar program is part of the country’s “30/30 by 2030” programme, aimed at reducing the costs of fossil fuel energy.
–Bahamas Information Service