Solar installation training course offered
A new solar energy training programme is aimed at creating a self-sustaining industry in Bermuda, according to the Minister of Home Affairs.
Walter Roban said the goal was for rooftop solar panels to generate 30 megawatts of power in the next five years, equal to roughly 10,000 homes.
He told The Royal Gazette: “If we can reach that goal, it will considerably contribute to reducing our cost of energy, which is one of the highest in the world – 38 to 41 cents per kilowatt.
“Once we have enough people trained, we will be able to train our own and won’t need outside assistance.
“Beyond this pilot, we’re looking at building something sustainable that will lead to ongoing training at the Bermuda College and through the Department of Workforce Development. Just like Belco trains their own, we want to have the same capacity for Bermudians qualified in renewable energy.”
He announced the launch this week of free courses on solar photovoltaic panel installation with the IT training company ConnecTech.
Applications have already come in for the training to get accredited as a solar panel installer, valid for four years.
Mr Roban said he took inspiration from a 2019 visit to to Barbados and Jamaica.
“This solar installation programme is similar to what they have in those islands,” he said. “The goal is to build capacity in training people who can ultimately run and maintain and start businesses in the energy sector.
“That way the goal of energy independence for Bermuda can be achieved.
Mr Roban conceded there were “still cost challenges for the average person” – but said the technology had become more affordable in recent years, making it a cheaper investment than traditional power from fossil fuels.
All components related to renewable energy are duty free, and the island has a rebate programme for lower-income households to install solar power.
A government rebate originally ran from 2009 to 2014, and resumed in 2018 on a scale set by a home’s annual rental value.
Candidates for the five-day training programme should have some background in electrical and construction work.
Applications are taken online at ConnectTech and questions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The course will run from July 19 to 23 from 8.30am to 5pm.