As residents continue to call for more affordable electricity rates and better service from the BVI Electricity Corporation (BVIEC), one young BVIslander is seeking to provide the territory with renewable energy as an additional option.
Twenty-four-year-old William Adamson opened Renewable Power Solutions in 2022. He and his business partner Chris Fletcher are hoping to provide solar panels and batteries to those seeking to reduce their reliance on the national grid and reduce their carbon footprint.
Business has been picking up slowly, with a few installations in Oil Nut Bay and on Mosquito Island.
Recently, the company completed their first-ever commercial scale solar installation on Tortola for Golden Hind Chandlery — a company which specialises in marine supplies.
“We supplied them with 140 solar panels. As far as I’m aware, they are the first large-scale private company on Tortola to invest in solar energy,” Adamson revealed. He also added that the company began looking into alternative energy after seeing that their operations were heavily affected by the frequent power cuts in recent times.
Adamson said his company has been seeing increasing interests from residents who also want a reliable supply of power. But he admitted that it is particularly costly to invest in solar power in the territory because of the threat of hurricanes.
“Because we face unique challenges in the BVI with particular emphasis on hurricanes, we have higher costs of installing solar here. We need to make sure that our equipment is of the required rating to withstand even the strongest hurricanes — like Irma. And we have to ensure that the existing homes are capable of holding the solar equipment. It means it’s more expensive to do it than in other countries and that is the main thing holding back solar in the BVI,” Adamson explained.
To combat the high costs, Adamson urged the government to consider another duty-free policy for renewable energy imports. One was done in 2021 and the young business owner said this helped his business and many others who opted to venture in renewable energy.
“Many businesses took advantage of this and it was a big boom to the industry. However, that duty-free period ended recently and renewing that policy would help continue to grow solar in the BVI,” Adamsom said.
If residents still want to venture into renewable energy, it would be costly at first, but cheaper in the long term.
“A small house with an electricity bill of $100 monthly could go off grid with solar and batteries for about $20,000. While this is expensive, it means they are fully off-grid and in another post-irma situation, they will have backup power without the need for a diesel generator,” Adamson stated.
He added that a company with a monthly electricity bill of $500 could offset that cost with between 25 and 30 solar panels, which would come in at approximately $30,000.
“If they wish to add batteries then the cost would go up accordingly.”
And while admitting that the cost is a major factor to consider when venturing into solar energy, Adamson said such a decision is a very moral one that can preserve the longevity of Nature’s Little Secret.
“The benefits that solar energy provides not only financially but also socially, makes it one of the best decisions you can make. It’s a very safe investment for both you and your family or your business. When you consider the importance of investing in this technology for our future generations and maintaining Nature’s Little Secret, it’s a very moral decision,” Adamson said boldly.
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