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U.S. company to build solar grid on Ragged Island

Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) announced yesterday that U.S.-based company Salt Energy LLC has been selected to build its first solar and battery storage solution on Ragged Island.

The facility is expected to produce in excess of 90 percent of the energy requirements for the island when completed.

Work on the project is set to begin in the coming days.

“The goal of the RFPs was to support the green island initiative established for Ragged Island by the government of The Bahamas,” BPL said in a statement.

“The project also supports BPL’s diversification of energy sources within its generation fleet.

“This will be the first solar and battery storage solution implemented by BPL and is paving the way for the company in the renewables arena.”

In September 2017, Ragged Island was devastated by Hurricane Irma. The damage was so extensive that the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) deemed the island “uninhabitable”.

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.

According to the power company, 14 companies made the shortlist for the Ragged Island RFP, including two Bahamian joint ventures.

Subsequently, four international companies submitted responses and after applications were vetted, Salt Energy LLC was selected.

The RFP closed on June 7, 2019.

“BPL is implementing a turn-key engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) project to provide a solar photovoltaic (PV) and energy storage microgrid system comprising 390 kWp minimum (solar PV), minimum 300 KW / 1,260 kWh (energy storage) and power management system,” the statement continued.

BPL Director of Grid Stability & Support Services Burlington Strachan explained yesterday, “This project, when completed, will produce in excess of 90 percent of the energy requirements for Ragged Island, thereby reducing the carbon footprint of the island and diversifying the energy mix for BPL on the island.”

He added that once complete, the project will reduce the operating cost on the island.

“At present, Ragged Island operates at a cost level higher than the revenue generated by the island,” he said.

“While this will likely remain the same after the installation is complete, the magnitude of the deficit will be reduced, while gaining the other benefits of this green solution.”

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Sloan Smith

Sloan covers national news for The Nassau Guardian. Sloan officially joined the news team in September 2016 but interned at The Nassau Guardian while studying journalism at the University of The Bahamas. Education: Vrije Universiteit Brussel (University of Brussels), MA in Mass Communications

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