Solar airport finger ready for take-off
A new solar farm at the airport has won approval to become the first independent power producer on the island.Walter Roban, the Minister of Home Affairs, said that the Regulatory Authority had backed an operating licence for the electricity generation plant, built on the “finger” at the airport.The farm, created by Canadian-based green electricity firm Saturn Power, is expected to go on stream in the next few months.Mr Roban said: “This project, the first of its kind, proves the concept that large-scale solar power is not only viable for developers, but beneficial to all ratepayers.“He added the development opened the door to “a cleaner future of power generation for Bermuda, one in which Bermudians can fully realise the potential of brownfield sites throughout these islands”. Mr Roban said the Department of Energy continued to identify government-owned property suitable for alternative energy generation as part of the Integrated Resource Plan on the future of power supply on the island.A spokesman for the home affairs ministry added that most of the 31 staff involved in the construction of the airport solar farm were Bermudian.The spokesman said: “The licence marks the culmination of many months of hard work on the part of both the Regulatory Authority and the project’s developers, Saturn Solar Bermuda, and is the first licence to a fully independent power producer. “The only other entities who hold generation licences are Belco and the Government-owned Tynes Bay Waste-to-Energy facility.”Saturn will be able to provide power to the grid at 10.3 cents per kilowatt hour.The solar farm was built on a stretch of disused runway at the airport. The 19-acre, six-megawatt installation will offset some of Bermuda’s peak power demand and decrease the need for the use of fossil fuel.However, the home affairs spokesman said, because the plant does not have storage capability, it would not be able to replace existing energy generation assets.