Greenrock has been campaigning and addressing this issue for the last two years, so we are pleased to be able to move forwards with Belco.

Earlier in the year Govt. had sought opinions from various groups including Greenrock about the proposed interconnection agreement by Belco, and it seems some changes have been made to the initial proposed agreement. At the time it was suggested that the Energy Commission would have hand in shaping the policy, but at the moment, it appears that Belco have just decided to enact the policy rather than wait for the Energy Commission, which has been notable only by its absence.

The most important item in the Belco interconnection agreement is that customers under 15kw (a very large domestic system) will now be rewarded at market value for electricity generated, meaning that for every Kwh you generate , you will be paid the same price as every Kwh you buy from Belco. What this means for  solar panel owners is that during the daylight hours they will be adding credit to their Belco account , and in the evening, when the Solar panels are no longer making electricity , they will be buying power back from Belco. If your system is sized properly, you will have a low to non-existent bill at the month's end. If you generate more power than you consume you will receive a cheque every six months from Belco, something that would put a smile on anyone's face !

There are still a number of technical loops and hurdles for those wishing to install Solar panels.  Potential customers will need :

1. Planning Permission (This will mean a DAP-1 if your system is greater than 80 sq ft.), or Permitted development form.(This includes site plans,location maps, etc)

2.  A Building Permit (including site plans and schematics)

3. Certificate of Occupancy and Use (after Govt. inspection)

4. Liability Insurance (BF&M are currently discussing this product, but it may form part of general liability that Home contents insurance gives you)

5. A New meter (now paid for by Belco)

6. Inspection by Belco, or by Purenergy acting as Belco representatives

7. Dept of Environment Controlled Plant Operating License and Permit to construct a controlled Plant.

8. A completed SPRI form that will entitle you to a $1 dollar rebate for every 1 watt of solar up to $5000 dollars. (If you use an approved installer)


This link will take you to a govt. portal where you can see the paperwork required:

Planning can easily take over six months to be granted, but new the latest July " Guidelines for Renewables" from planning suggest that application may be fast tracked. The planning dept. is also drawing up new guidelines for Wind Turbines, which have been problematic as regards planning, due to perceived noise and visibility, but hopefully basic criteria are being established, the latest guidelines suggesting that a maximum of 45' for height and 55db for ground level noise is appropriate.

In truth,as this is all new technology and new ground for Bermuda, we can see the process is still somewhat convoluted, but speaking to Belco, Planning and Dept. of the Environment employees this week, there is a certain enthusiasm for renewable technologies and knowledge that things could be done more easily, so it is hoped the application process will become more streamlined. Greenrock's next step will be to try and encourage simplification of the process and to help with solutions.

The other good news this week was from the Throne Speech, which seemed to suggest that rebates and support for green technologies would remain in place. The conditions are finally right for Bermuda to take it's place amongst other countries in helping to support, rather than block  green consumers and businesses.

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