Ferreira stresses role of private sector in renewable energy development
The development and proliferation of renewable energy in the country is likely going to be driven by the private sector, Minister of Environment and Housing Romauld Ferreira said recently, adding that he wants to see Bahamians have easier access to consumer loans for things like renewable energy implementation.
Ferreira, speaking at the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers’ Confederation’ (BCCEC) Energy Summit on Friday, said government has to also find a way to incentivize the use of solar energy in order to make it easier and more affordable for Bahamians to begin implementing it en masse.
He said government is already moving to solarize public schools, with Anatol Rodgers High School next on the list of schools, in order to test the viability of solar arrays on New Providence rooftops. He stressed that rooftops will be important for New Providence if solar is to be the primary source of renewable energy, given the island’s lack of green space.
While the minister could not say what incentives the government is likely to give a green light to, he said real property tax rebates have been suggested. He added that government is also looking at how it can help Bahamians access funding for renewable energy projects.
“Even in a country where the cost of energy is high, the initial outlay (for renewable energy purchase and installation) is also high,” said Ferreira.
“We’re lagging behind. There are disadvantages to that, but we’re hoping we can turn that into an advantage and catapult ourselves, because this is the future.”
Ferreira said government is looking at applying renewable energy in public spaces to give the private sector some inspiration to move forward with its own projects. A solar array is being installed in the parking lot of Thomas A. Robinson Stadium, which Ferreira said could be completed by July.