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Firm introduces self-installation kits

Self install solar kit

Solar energy may no longer be the preserve of the wealthy as affordable self-installation kits take to the Bermuda market.

The installation process may not be for everyone but Bermuda Engineering Company says that anyone who is “hands-on” will be able to follow the instructions.

According to BEC, the company supplying the Bermuda Solar Kits, the 10-year-warranties will be valid as certified Belco and Planning Department inspectors will have to approve the installations before they are attached to the electric meter.

The kits aim to strip out “soft costs” associated with traditional system installation, such as certain planning permission costs and coordinating interconnection with Belco.

They are being launched for $2,500 today, with discounts diminishing by $100 daily until December 5 when prices will be capped at $2,995.

Each kit generates up to 1,600 kilowatt hours a year and currently have the potential to make savings of $450 to $750 per year.

In 2012, Alternative Energy Systems released a similar initiative selling kits for $8,899, that price included full installation by a certified installer.

Chris Worboys, BEC business strategy consultant, said: “Our [self install] system is based on micro inverters — there are three connectors and they will only fit into the right socket, so it’s basically impossible to connect it incorrectly. The only part that would potentially present a risk would be wiring from the solar panels back into the breaker panel but we say that if you are not sure, get an electrician to do that part of the installation or get an electrician to check your work.

“Planning are going to have to inspect all installations, as are Belco, it is part of their normal procedure so everything is going to have to meet the National Electrical Code standard or it’s not going to be permitted.”

The systems will be sold with an installation manual that covers the technical aspects of system installation. An online forum will provide additional advice on how to obtain planning permission and responsibly interconnect systems with Belco.

Mr Worboys added: “The kind of person who will buy one of these will be people who are hands-on, they have practical skills but they don’t necessarily have the financial resources. We have an internet forum where people can help each other out. The other alternative is to call an electrician or engineer to get them through any hold ups.”

Each kit consists of four 255W solar panels, four microinverters, aluminium mounting rails, stainless steel roof mounting bolts and provides the majority of components required to install a complete solar electricity generating system. Additional supplies needed include wiring, conduit and electrical components. Planning applications can vary from $200 to $300 and are assessed on a case-by-case basis.

The self install kits are already available in the US, Canada and the UK

Anyone wishing to purchase a kit can contact Bermuda Engineering to place a deposit to secure their system.