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Energy efficiency pledge pleases solar panel firms

Bermuda’s solar panel industry applauded a Government plan to modify the Island’s building code to encourage energy efficiency.

Environment Minister Sylvan Richards made the announcement at a public forum last week.

Said Tim Madeiros, CEO and founder of Alternative Energy Systems: “I applaud and welcome Minister Richards’ pledge to make changes to the Island’s building code to foster and promote energy efficiency.

“Bermuda is on the right track, however a commercial interconnection policy from Belco, which was promised more than three years ago, is still awaited.

“I would therefore also encourage the Minister to factor into his deliberations the need for Belco to commit to, and issue, a commercial interconnection policy. It is an essential element for encouraging more companies to include renewable technologies such as solar and wind in their construction plans.”

The number of people who have approached him about solar panels has increased, Mr Madeiros said.

“I've spent the past five years educating potential customers and the general public about solar energy and its benefits, during which time people have become more comfortable with the technology, which I believe has contributed to the increase in solar adopters,” he said.

Chris Worboys of Bermuda Engineering said his business saw a 154 percent increase in the number of solar energy systems sold in 2012 compared with 2011.

“More people are realising that the cost of energy provided by solar technologies is now 60 to 75 percent less than the cost of electricity generated from fossil fuels,” he said.

“For example, we are currently installing a system that will generate electricity for a cost of 12 cents per kWh for a client who is currently paying over 42 cents per kWh for electricity generated using fossil fuels,” he said.

“This system cost less than $8,000 to install, is projected to pay for itself in five years, will last for over 25 years and offers an internal rate of return of 17 percent. Once people realise that solar energy can offer these kind of numbers there is not much to think about.”

The cost of fossil fuels continue to rise but the cost of solar technology has fallen rapidly, he said. “Unfortunately the common myth that renewable energy is more expensive than fossil fuels still perpetuates,” he said.

Mr Worboys said the company was 100 percent behind introducing mandatory standards for energy efficiency and renewable energy in buildings, although there are typically few short-term incentives to build energy-efficient buildings.

“Without getting into specific details, we believe the most important actions that can be taken are to ensure these measures are implemented as soon as possible and to ensure comprehensive public consultation takes place,” he said.

“There are so many individuals and organisations in Bermuda with knowledge and experience that they wish to share to move us forward as a community, and consultation is the only way this can be tapped into.”

Solar panels on a roof in Bermuda. A Government plan to modify building codes to encourage energy efficiency has been welcomed by the Island’s solar planel industry.

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Published January 25, 2013 at 8:00 am (Updated January 24, 2013 at 11:47 pm)

Energy efficiency pledge pleases solar panel firms

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