Government plans new solar rebate scheme
The Government plans to re-establish rebates for solar energy installations, with a focus on helping low-income households to reduce their electricity bills.
Regulatory minister Walter Roban said the previous solar rebate programme had been started in 2009 and during its five years had helped 220 homes to connect solar systems to the grid and 65 to install solar water heating.
The previous programme offered a maximum rebate of $5,000 and resulted in the Government paying out around $800,000 in subsidies.
When the previous One Bermuda Alliance administration closed down the programme in 2014, Grant Gibbons, the economic development minister of the time, said more had been spent on the programme than originally planned, that it had achieved its aim of stimulating uptake of solar technologies and that the cost of solar panels had come down.
Mr Roban said the intent was not simply to “reboot the old scheme”.
“Under the old scheme, those who could already afford solar technologies were provided additional incentive to proceed with installation,” Mr Roban said.
“As such, Mr Speaker, it is recognised that, this time, we must arrive at measures to reach those who need help the most.”
The new scheme will include support for the purchase of energy efficiency technologies in homes, such as LED lighting and water heater timers.
“This will have more impact than just being of benefit to the end users; it also will be an investment in, and provide support for, local businesses,” Mr Roban said.
He added that a sliding-scale rebate, based on annual rental values of properties, will be introduced to encourage the installation of solar panels and solar thermal heaters.
“This will seek to provide more incentive for those who own smaller properties, who may need assistance to invest in technologies they would otherwise not be able to afford,” Mr Roban said in the House of Assembly last Friday.
“A more extensive evaluation is currently under way to ensure that this piece of the new Energy Rebate Initiative reaches the intended demographic.”
The scheme would keep dollars in the economy that would otherwise have left the island to buy fuel oil for the generation of electricity, Mr Roban said, as well as creating business opportunities and benefiting the environment.
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