Govt. grants solar exemptions for $2.2 million in goods

Govt. grants solar exemptions for $2.2 million in goods
(photo courtesy of energy.mit.edu)

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Businesses that provide solar power equipment and related services are free to apply to the Ministry of Finance to access tax exemptions for the import of solar kits in keeping with the Government’s policy to support renewable energy businesses.

Solar kits and components were made duty free during the 2018/2019 budget exercise.

Since coming into effect in July 2018, the Ministry has so far approved 50 applications for duty-free importation of $2.21 million worth of solar installation items.

While solar kits are duty-free, individual and universal parts, such as electrical wire or circuit breakers, which are used inside and outside of the renewable energy sector, attract the ordinary duty rates when imported separately.

“Although businesses do have to apply for the exemption we have made the application process as simple as an email. The only accompanying documents are copies of the invoices and a valid business licence. So far we have had a smooth process for moving these applications through. While we cannot grant exemptions on individual parts – many of which can be used for non- solar related provisions, we have been approving exemptions on all solar kits in keeping with the policy put in place by the Government,” noted Marlon Johnson, Acting Financial Secretary.

Overall, duty rates on associated parts have been coming down over time. Solar panels have been duty-free for some time. Duty on all rechargeable batteries with the exception of car batteries has been set at 10 per cent. In the past, duty on these parts has been as high as 60 per cent.

Businesses are free to email the Revenue Department, Ministry of Finance (TBRICE@bahamas.gov.bs) to request an exemption, which is valid for specified imports over six months, for the duty-free import of solar kits. Individuals are also free to apply for personal imports.