Even as one of the innovators in solar energy lamented the restrictions on producers due to the capacity of the local grid, Government says by October a new Electric Light & Power Act could be headed to Parliament for consideration.
At the launch of Williams everGreen Ltd, the new energy producing arm of Williams Industries Inc, this evening, chairman Ralph “Bizzy” Williams noted companies were restricted to producing 150kW because that was what the grid could accommodate.
“Right now, we are limited to 150kW per system by the Barbados Light & Power and I thank them for raising it from 50kW to 150. It is 150kW now and I would really like to put at least 400kW on this building because the demand up here is 800kph and I don’t see why he won’t let me put 400kW up here but he still limiting me to 150 for now,” said Williams.
Meanwhile, Minister of State with responsibility for Energy, Darcy Boyce noted that Government was aware of the concerns of those in the energy sector with relation to the Electric Light and Power Act, especially as it related to licensing independent power producers regarding the grid tied system and the associated tariffs.
“I am happy to say and I am keeping my fingers crossed and holding my breath that we are in a position to get the new Electric Light & Power Act into Parliament in early October for debate. So we would expect before yearend we are in position for relatively easy licensing of independent power producers and for arrangements to set the feed in tariffs at appropriate levels for appropriate periods of time,” he said.
Williams, however, said if the national grid could not accept more than the 150kW, he saw a possibility of there being other uses for the electricity produced.
“We cannot build very big photovoltaic systems and attach them to the grid because they may destabilise the grid. If we were to build 50MW or 60MW of solar and attach it to the grid which is bearing between 100MW and 160MW, it could destabilise the grid when clouds pass over and you have rain and so on. But if you use that power to charge the batteries of electric vehicles through smart plugs, then you could regulate the charge rate to the amount of energy that is coming from these panels and it would not affect the grid or destabilise it,” he suggested.
The Williams Industry chairman also noted that there was unused land around the island that could be turned into solar farms.
“[P]ersonally, the way I see the future is that we are going to use lots of the land that are now doing nothing in the country to build photovoltaic [farms] and feed that power to charging stations or even to households, to charge vehicle batteries. You are never going to have an increase in the charge of sunlight. The price at which you install the [system] can be fixed to the lifespan and you could be driving around Barbados on sunpower with a fleet, I don’t know, about 80 per cent of all the vehicles powered by sun. The sky is the limit. These are things to think about if we all put our mind together.”
There were countries like Denmark, Israel and Australia that had gone in this direction, he suggest, so Barbados while not exactly bringing a new concept could still become the greenest nation in the world if this is achieved. (LB)