Ministry of Public Works trying to improve solar approval process

The Ministry of Public Works continues to try to improve its process for inspecting and approving solar installations, Minister of Public Works Desmond Bannister told Guardian Business yesterday.

Complaints about how long the process takes for solar installations to be approved have in the past been reported to the media and the Utilities Regulations and Competition Authority (URCA), which regulates the energy sector.

Several sources confirmed to Guardian Business that things have not changed.

Bannister said some of those complaints leveled against the Ministry of Pubic Works have been investigated and were found to be possibly harmful installations.

“Those complaints have been investigated all the way to the permanent secretary and the reality is that in the circumstance that has really been brought to my attention, we feel as though we are justified in how we proceeded, because the challenge is that unless you’re really careful, based on some of the things that were happening, somebody could get killed or electrocuted,” said Bannister.

“If you for example connect a solar system that will be connected to the grid and you don’t have a certified electrician as part of the process and you’re trying to do certain things yourself, and that’s just one example, you could find that there would be serious challenges.

“So, the ministry takes it very seriously because of what could happen, it takes the responsibility very seriously. Some of the installers have indicated that they would like the process to improve and we’re trying to improve the process.”

According to Bannister, inspections are done by both the Ministry of Public Works and Bahamas Power and Light (BPL).

He added that systems that are being tied to BPL’s grid are taken very seriously and are “a very serious obligation” for his ministry.

“I think we are fairly efficient in getting it done when it comes to our attention,” Bannister said.

He added that the Ministry of Public Works wants to be notified of customers who are having challenges with getting their systems approved, explaining that he wants to see the process improve.

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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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