The Bahamas should be utilizing solar energy
Published: Jun 17, 2013
There has never been a better time in the history of The Bahamas to implement solar energy in both private and public sectors. The Bahamas is one of the “sunshine capitals” of the world and does not currently take advantage of this abundant energy resource as a nation. The Bahamas should be utilizing solar energy in both the public and private sectors, and the government should promote and encourage its use with sensible policies.
Modern solar systems are completely safe, viable, economical and reliable sources of power for both homes and businesses. Most solar systems have a 10 percent or higher return on investment and a payback of five to six years.
Modern solar systems produce the type of electricity every home or business needs. Solar energy can run all modern appliances such as air conditioners, TVs, stereos, fans, pumps, lights, etc. It is important that the electricity being delivered to a home or business is “clean”.
There are three types of solar systems currently available. The first system is called a “Grid Tied System” and is the most cost effective. It uses no batteries and does not attempt to store the solar energy. The solar energy goes directly into the homes electrical panel and is used instantaneously by the homes appliances. This system can only produce power during daylight hours and cannot store any power for nighttime use. It can, however, produce 100 percent of a home’s 24-hour power during the daylight hours by “spinning the meter” backwards during the day. This process is called “net metering” and is the most sensible solution for The Bahamas. Every meter in The Bahamas is capable of “net metering”, but some meters need an additional module to make them spin backwards. A unique requirement of these systems is that they shut down immediately during a utility power loss (blackout), so that the electrical line workers do not get electrocuted. These systems meet an international standard for safety and reliability, and always shut down to protect the utility workers. The term “net billing” refers to the power company writing a check to the consumer for excess solar power produced. Since no home or business should need to create more than 100 percent of its power, this arrangement is only required for solar power plants by independent power producing companies.
The second system is called an “off grid system”. This always has batteries and is used when utility power is not available or feasible, such as in remote areas. The batteries can store energy from both solar panels and wind turbines. The advantage of adding wind power is that you can charge batteries day and night. Wind energy is mainly feasible in the out islands, under certain conditions.
The third type of system is called a “grid interactive system”. This system combines all of the features of the other two systems and more. The primary difference is that when the utility power fails, this system immediately isolates from the power lines and acts as a backup generator. It has batteries for backup power and can also net meter.
Solar energy is the primary solution to the current unsustainable energy crisis and should play a vital part in the nation’s energy mix.
The systems I have mentioned above are presently being offered in The Bahamas by several reliable companies. For more information, give us a call and start saving today.
• Carmen Massoni is president of Bahama Islands Realty and has 18 years of experience in the real estate profession in The Bahamas. She has been the recipient of many international awards recognizing her as a top producer amongst her peers. If you have any questions or need real estate advice, call 322-7770 or email Carmen@BahamaIslandsRealty.com.