This reduced carbon dioxide emission alone is equivalent to removing 260 cars from the road or planting almost 15 acres of trees each year.



Tim Madeiros, CEO, Alternative Energy Systems said that "It shows the growing conscientiousness of Bermuda residents with regards to the environment."

Charles Brown, Director of the Bermuda Government's Sustainable Development Unit, who also finds this milestone encouraging, says: "The adoption of renewable energy systems is strongly encouraged on both a commercial and residential level; it's good for Bermuda and is right on point with the sustainable development agenda. Our future will be significantly shaped by the extent to which we are prepared to change our current ways of thinking and behaving about energy and other necessities."

One reason people on the island may be embracing solar energy more is the new interconnection policy, which enables those residential customers who have small-scale renewable energy generation systems to sell excess electricity back to Belco at the same rate that they pay for power.

In addition, Mr. Madeiros feels that local residents understand the energy issues on the island in that at current rates of consumption and growth, Bermuda's only power plant won't be able to generate enough energy without expanding, and that expansion would only further damage the environment with pollution and increased CO2 emission.

With electricity in Bermuda costing three times more than in North America, Britain and most of Europe, local residents are also recognising the cost savings associated with going solar.

Carlos Amaral from Devonshire, an AES client who had a 10 kilowatt system installed last month, says: "I've gotten my first electricity bill with the new system and there is marked reduction. I can monitor the system online and I can see that the power being generated during the day by the sun offsets the consumption of energy at night."

Like many people, Mr. Amaral's initial hesitation about installing a solar energy system was the upfront cost. However, government incentives and the electricity buyback scheme from Belco prompted Mr. Amaral to go ahead with the installation.

"The return on investment is there when the system is paid off," said Mr. Amaral. "I know the cost of electricity will continue to go up, so it made sense for me to take control of my energy costs now with solar power."

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