Bahamians hesitant to go green

Bahamians hesitant to go green
Philip Feller, general manager of SuperGreen Solutions

SuperGreen Solutions says there is a lack of incentives for energy consumers

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Bahamians would be less apprehensive to “go green” if there were more government incentives and security in taking out loans for solarizing homes, according to Philip Feller, general manager of SuperGreen Solutions Bahamas.

SuperGreen Solutions are advisors, suppliers and installers of domestic and commercial energy efficient solutions.

“It is not something you should be financing out of your pocket, but instead should be taken to a financial institution and getting it built into a mortgage,” Feller told Eyewitness News Online.

“Maybe the government can help with that, maybe they can secure some of these things or at least provide a fund for it. It’s done like that everywhere else in the world, so I don’t see why we can’t do it here.”

Solarizing a mid-sized home with can cost homeowners between $14,000 and $20,000.

There are many examples of governments in other jurisdictions providing solar tax breaks.

Successive governments in The Bahamas have made solar equipment less expensive by reducing or in some cases eliminating duties.

But Feller said instead of residents making the transition to solarize at significant cost, there are mid-way steps.

He said his company can work alongside homeowners to make conservation steps first.

“Don’t think about starting with solar; that is the last step,” Feller said. “[The] first thing is to look at your appliances in your house.

“Go to LED lighting. It’s about five times more efficient than a CFL bulbs. Go and look at your water heating. Is it on a timer? There are things like that. Conserving is a lot less expensive than solarizing.

“You bring us your electricity bill and it will show us your last 12 months of electricity usage and with that we can then offset 50 per cent, 75 per cent… of your power usage.

“Then you can make the decision to either slowly phase into the solar approach over years or just to get it done one time to be completely off grid.”

Last November, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis declared that his vision for The Bahamas was for every home to become self-sustaining with the use of solar technology.

At the time, Minnis said, “Solarization is improving aggressively; technology is improving aggressively and we would like to see every home in The Bahamas become what you call a self-contained power station.”

The prime minister also noted at the time that the government was aggressively working to decrease the cost of electricity and a company was lined up to probe the rising cost of utility bills. It is unclear if the company, which was not named, was ever engaged.

Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) consumers have bemoaned high electricity bills.

Despite persistent outages in recent months, many consumers have claimed their bills remain high and, in some cases, higher than previous months. However, BPL officials maintain that unlike other utility companies, BPL only bills for usage.