Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) is expected to introduce solar energy to Ragged Island by the end of this week, BPL Director of Public Relations Quincy Parker confirmed yesterday.
The project was initially expected to be completed by the end of December, however, BPL Chairman Dr. Donovan Moxey reported in January that the project had been delayed due to Hurricane Dorian.
“The solar field is complete,” Parker told The Nassau Guardian Friday.
“So, that means all the panels have already been put in the ground.”
Parker said the contractor is now working to establish a connection between the solar panels and the microgrid.
“By the end of next week, we fully expect to be able to have solar to the grid in Ragged Island,” he added.
Parker said the solar farm will service the entire island, which has a population of around 60 people.
“Right now, we have a generator running. Once the work is complete, the solar field will [take over].”
However, he added that the generator will remain on the island and will be used to supplement power generation, if necessary.
The engineering, procurement and construction contract was awarded to Tugliq Energy Co. and its construction partner, SALT Energy, in July 2019.
Waugh Construction, which is based in Freeport, Grand Bahama, was subcontracted to work on the project.
It’s been nearly three years since Hurricane Irma ravaged the island.
The damage caused on Ragged Island by Irma was so extensive that the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) deemed the island “uninhabitable”. Scores of people left the island in the aftermath of that storm. However, some have since returned.
After the storm, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis announced that the island would become a green island.
However, there is still no government school, post office, administrator’s office, police station or clinic on Ragged Island, as all of those buildings were destroyed during the hurricane, and have yet to be repaired.
The government has pledged $12 million to restore public infrastructure on the island.
Meantime, Parker said the Ragged Island solar project is useful because it will guide how the electricity company introduces solar power to other Family Islands.
“All lessons we learn about what works best… the smoothest path ahead — those lessons will make what we do in the next set of solar base load generation that much better,” he said.
BPL is also looking to introduce solar energy in North and Central Andros, North and South Eleuthera and Inagua. Parker said BPL hopes to execute contracts for those projects by the end of March.