Approval delays for school’s solar system frustrate APS president

A state-of-the-art solar system at Windsor School has been collecting dust for four years due to continued delays by the Ministry of Public Works (MOPW), lamented the system’s installer, Philip Holdom.

Holdom, who is the president of solar design and installation company Alternative Power Supply (APS), said the system has already received the green light from the Utilities Regulation and Competition Authority (URCA) and Bahamas Power and Light (BPL).

“September 5th, 2019 marks the four-year anniversary of the Windsor School Solar system having been installed by Alternative Power Supply…a solar system that to this day has not been permitted to be turned on, due to continual delays with the electrical approval process at the Ministry of Public Works,” Holdom said.

“In September of 2014, a state-of-the-art solar system was donated by a school patron and Alternative Power Supply to Windsor School.

“The purpose of the solar system was to power the science lab, enabling Windsor School students to experience and interact with a renewable energy system in real-time. The solar system also included an online app so it could be viewed live and teaching could occur interactively on the school’s whiteboard.

“We would then teach a class in renewable energy and related maths and science. Applied science such as photovoltaics, basic AC and DC electricity, Ohm’s Law, power and energy, energy efficiency and renewable energy design were part of the educational offerings.”

Holdom said students, including his own son, have passed through that science lab without ever having been able to interact with the solar system.

The country has been championing the move to the widespread use of renewable energy, but energy sector regulator, URCA, has lamented the process to approve systems, though Holdom’s case is still extraordinary.

“The solar system at Windsor School has been inspected a total of four times, twice by the Utilities Regulation & Competition Authority and three times by the Ministry of Public Works and no one will complete the approval certificate for the system,” Holdom said.

“Because the installation predated the institution of the Small-Scale Renewable Generation Program (SSRG), the system has actually gone through the same inspection process twice, which in any other country would likely be considered unnecessary.

“The MOPW will simply not release the final approved inspection certificate. All requirements for a code-compliant solar system per the SSRG regulations have been met. We have been writing emails on a weekly, monthly and yearly basis for the past four years, to the authorities that have jurisdiction, without success.

“How can it be that a simple solar system, intended for educational purposes at a renown school, can be prevented from being used for four years due to the inability of an authority that has jurisdiction to complete its obligations in a timely manner, as a permitting authority?”

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Chester Robards

Chester Robards rejoined The Nassau Guardian in November 2017 as a senior business reporter. He has covered myriad topics and events for The Nassau Guardian. Education: Florida International University, BS in Journalism

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