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Laws coming for residents to sell solar energy to BVIEC

Solar panel on roof.

Residents are being promised the opportunity to sell energy generated from their private Photovoltaic (PV) System to the state-owned BVI Electricity Corporation.

PV systems are effectively solar panels that are used to power buildings.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Communications and Works, Anthony McMaster said government is moving forward with plans to roll out renewable energy across the British Virgin Islands.

He said government further plans to implement fresh legislation on renewable energy this year.

“What the legislation does, is it that it allows private citizens and businesses to produce energy. And there are quite a few businesses now in the BVI and a few private homes that actually does the PV system,” McMaster said.

He continued: “What doesn’t happen, which the regulations will take care of, is if you have excess, you are providing more than you require for your business or your home to function — you would actually be able to feed it into the [BVIEC’s electricity] grid and be rewarded for it.”

The permanent secretary explained that government is considering renewable energy in order to reduce the territory’s dependence on fossil fuel.

He further noted the possibility of expanding the BVI’s electricity production over to the sister islands.

“We do not want to be fully reliant on diesel power. We think if we can develop alternate power to the territory it would be beneficial to all, and rather than having all the power being produced on Tortola we could probably have power produced on the sister islands, which could be in the form of solar PV systems, or we could also conduct research on wave technology or wind technology.”

While speaking at a public consultation on Virgin Gorda this week, McMaster said the ministry hopes that 30 percent of the territory will be powered by renewable energy by the year 2030.

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26 Comments

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  1. really says:

    This would be awesome

    • Read the proposal says:

      BVIEC’s proposal is that for houses to sell electricity to the grid, 2 meters must be installed.
      The first meter provides power to your own house, billed at normal rates.
      The second takes your solar power and feeds it to the grid, for which you recieve a credit at 50% of BVIEC’s rate, this ensures that BVIEC can make a nice profit selling your power to someone else.
      So, you would have to produce DOUBLE the power you are already using before you eliminate your electric bill.
      Gee, thanks BVIEC, knew you’d find a way to screw this up.

      • Watcher says:

        It is not quite that negative. Plentiful sunshine, the extremely high cost of electricity here, and the ever lower costs of PV panels and systems, mean that it might well make economic sense to invest in enough PV to cancel out your bill.

      • No Screw Up says:

        Not true, your comments.

        The cost you pay for electricity covers the generation and distribution of the electricity, ie to get to your house, power has to be generated and then send over the national grid.

        When you produce electricity at your home, it still has to be sent over the national grid to be of use by somebody else. Why should bviec pay you for sending power over its own grid?

        Thus the reason why you are paid less, is because you are only being paid for generation, not distribution.

        There is no screw up.

  2. Albion says:

    About time…

  3. Watcher says:

    About time!

  4. citizen says:

    what took them so long to do this, smh

  5. The Real Boo says:

    Amen

  6. yolo says:

    but Richard Brand-son wanted to do that years ago this is old news

  7. Great says:

    Best news ive seen in a while

  8. Eagle eye says:

    By the 2030? Lol slowness at its best

  9. Socrates says:

    No doubt this is a good thing for consumers , but if a large number of individuals and businesses invest in PV and other alternatives renewable power sources, how will BVIEC revenue stream and operations be affecte? Will the cost per KWh for remaining BVIEC customers go up? Will BVI continue to use fossil fuel to generate electricity? With the initial installment cost, along with maintenance and operation cost be lower than BVIEC cost?

    How easy it be to switch between BVIEC and private power supply? Will BVIEC w end up with a huge unused capacity? How reliable will private power supply sources be in supplementing national demand? What is the benefit to BVIEC?

    During a disaster will private power supplies be looking to BVIEC to supply them power? Who will get connected first regular customers or others? Will private power suppliers have to pay a franchise fee? Could private power suppliers go off the grid altogether if they want go?

    • Dmargio says:

      Ask your self the questions? We on the side of the consumer. We want the legislation by next year. Election year 2019.

    • Disinterested says:

      Agree or disagree, these are probing questions by Socrates. Socrates stood on Athens street corner and engagwd the Athenians, the Greeks. His name sake is engaging Virgin Isalnders through the electronic media. The probing questions makes us do some self introspection and forces us to come face to face with issues. Ok. A simple question. How will this move impact BVIEC? 🎤🎤🎤.

      • Careful says:

        Answer: Perhaps negatively.
        Next question: does the welfare/profitablility of BVI EC take precedence over the welfare of the people of the islands, and the planet in general? If so, how is that justified?
        This ridiculous 30% by 2030 plan? That’s govt. putting BVIEC before people and planet – ie put off something they could do right away until we’ve pid back some $$ on our people-poisoning generator.
        And in answer to one of Socratese’s questions: in the nights after the storm you saw lights in only a few houses – those with generators and those with solar panels. Everyone who had solar panels properly fitted, had power immediately after the storm.

    • Doesn't not work like that says:

      The Consumer isnt getting actually money in their hands when they send the extra power into the grid.

      What happens is it turns your meter backward and you will in turn receive a credit for the power put into the grid. This type of system eases the amount of electricity BVIEC would have to produce because it is being helped by the persons putting it back into the grid.

      Secondly it would open the market for peak time and non peak time rates as well. Getting a Solar system that does this type of thing isnt the cheapest solution either. The cost would deter alot of people from doing it. Then there are the consumers who rent which is a big part of the BVI. So i wouldnt actually be worried about all of that stuff your asking.

    • Watcher says:

      The road to national bancruptcy is to prop up businesses whose time has gone. See the UK in the 1960/70s.

    • New Name says:

      Socrates, if the homes are able to generate sufficient energy, then BVIEC becomes power distribution company. They would have to keep their plants on standby for times of emmergency and disasters when there could be likellyhood of short supply from individual homes

  10. Christian says:

    2030? Is that the best you can do???

  11. Reply says:

    In a country where the sun is plentiful this should have been implemented a long time ago. This was one of the promises made by the NDP in their manifesto that so far has not materialized.

    I don’t understand why it has taken so long for this to be addressed. I know utilities are not fond of this as it loosens their monopoly, but no one should be forced to pay high electric bills in this day and age when there are cheaper alternatives.

    I can tell you from personal experience, I invested in this technology in one of my home 4 years ago, and I am close if I have not already broken even on investment in purchasing and installing the solar system.

    It powers all my electrical equipment including washer and dryer, refrigerators, ac 24/7, and heated pool, and most months my electric bill is zero or at most $20(December 2017) which is nothing compared to what I was paying prior to having the system installed.

    All I have to do is adhere to a few common sense rules such as only washing when the sun is brightest between 11 am and 2 pm, and the savings become real.

    To top that off, many months when my electric bill is zero, I receive a check from my utility company for the excess electricity my system generated and was sold. Amazing.

    Every home owner or business living in this sunny part of the world who can afford the technology should be allowed to utilize it. Solar technology is ideal for the Caribbean.

  12. Sam the man says:

    Domestic solar power doesn’t produce much power at best you may reduce your bill a little but don’t be thinking this will be a money maker… Also there is the maintenance of the panels to include – let’s keep some perspective here…I’d like to see the Government lead by example first – like how many of their buildings which have a bigger footprint have solar panels? Exactly…

    • Reply says:

      @Sam the man. This is not about making money. It’s about saving money, and avoiding paying high electrical bills. Quite the opposite. It is simply not true that such systems would not produce much power to reduce ones bill.

      My bill is zero most months, or at most $20.00 bucks if I stray away from utilizing lots of energy during certain times of the day, or if I have guest taking extra showers or washing.

      There is nothing to maintain per sae.

      The solar unit typically set up in coordination with the utility company, and its plugged into the grid. That is a process than can take some time. Electricity cannot be store; therefore, electricity generated is either used or fed back to the grid.

      The panels are placed typically on a roof, and the system is connected to your existing meter that is connected to the grid.

      The only problem I have had was with the recent hurricanes that blew some of the panels off the roof which necessitated a few of them having to be reinstalled.

      During the time the panels were being reinstalled, I was back on the grid when electricity was restored.

      Luckily my contract for the system made it possible for me to have them reinstalled freely.

      The only draw back with solar is the expense. Some people may not be able to afford it. However, those that can will see a return on their investment as I have in time.

  13. Sam the man says:

    Reply – utter nonsense, amazed you state u cover your electricity bills you might at best reduce them and as for maintenance in a sea environment this is expensive – don’t mislead people…

    • Reply says:

      @Sam. You are such a negative person with a closed mind. You spew nothing but negativity on these blogs. You dont know what you are talking about and thats clear to me, and project a miserable soul.

      You live in confusing. You spew it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You are sick. Based on your history of negative posts, your response was expected.

      You are a sad person. I hope the negativity you project routinely here on this forum is not how you carry yourself in real life as no one likes to be around constantly negative people. If you have few quality friends its because of your mindset that is filled with anger and negativity.

      You are a waste of my time. See me around these blogs, please keep moving. Grow up for God’s sake, and learn that everything in life is not about politics. Check yourself before you lash out at others.

      Now. Have a great night if you can somehow take some time out from being the unpleasant person that you project. In real life someone with your mindset is not someone I have dealings with. You are ugly inside.

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