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Joshun Stovell wants to bring solar power to the people

Joshun Stovell recently launched the renewable energy consultation business Enlightened Expertise (Photograph by Jessie Moniz Hardy)

High-voltage power lines, enclosed spaces and work at height are real dangers involved in solar panel installation.

But certified electrician and renewable energy consultant Joshun Stovell says that because of the newness, the industry is still under-regulated in Bermuda.

“Safety training for everyone who works in the industry should be improved,” Mr Stovell said.

After working with solar power company Be Solar for eight years, he recently went out on his own to form Enlightened Expertise. Part of his mandate is to provide training for solar power installers.

He said more trained solar panel specialists on the island would bring down the cost of solar energy by creating more competition in the industry.

“I am trying to position myself to be able to build the infrastructure that allows more people to invest in renewable energy and have their own business in renewable energy,” he said.

Enlightened Expertise also provides consultancy services for people looking to invest in renewable energy.

“If someone is building a new house and wants to get solar, I want to be in a position to give them all the information I can so they can make the best decisions possible,” he said.

Mr Stovell thinks that many people in Bermuda pay more on renewable energy than they need to.

“Bermudians tend to just go with the flow,” he said. “I want Bermudians to understand what they are getting with the prices quoted. If they are better informed and have more knowledge on a particular topic, they can make better decisions and negotiate on their terms.”

He said some people do their own research, but the price information they find is specific to the United States.

“Everything in Bermuda is more expensive,” Mr Stovell said. “There are shipping costs and installation costs to take into account. Bermuda roofs are very unique and require a lot of extra precision to make sure they do not leak. That goes into the labour costs.

“There are also maintenance costs. Unlike anywhere else in the world, you have to paint your roof every so often. In the US, once they install a solar system it is designed to stay there for the duration of the roof. Their roofs typically do not need to be reshingled for decades.”

Mr Stovell is passionate about helping people to gain energy independence through renewable energy.

“If you put solar panels on your house and you get a battery system, you can literally disconnect from the grid,” Mr Stovell said. “You can be independent from the ups and downs in the electricity market caused by the price of oil and so forth.”

After an island-wide power outage last month, several of his previous installation customers reported back to him that their system worked great, and thanked him for the installation.

With Bermuda being so small and having to import so much of its energy, Mr Stovell sees only growth for the renewable energy sector.

He will be involved in training staff needed for a new project installing solar panels on 32 government-owned buildings. He was also a project manager for a Bermuda College solar job.

“They have students in their technical programme that I trained, and I loved it,” he said. “I would prefer to train young, eager minds any day.”

Last year Mr Stovell won second place in the annual Bermuda Economic Development Corporation pitch competition in the tech category.

For more information e-mail jjsstovell@gmail.com

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Published March 06, 2023 at 7:45 am (Updated March 06, 2023 at 7:45 am)

Joshun Stovell wants to bring solar power to the people

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