Prime Minister the Most Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis today officially opened a 925-kilowatt solar plant facility at the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium. The facility, the largest of its kind in The Bahamas, is expected to replace the equivalent of 310,000 gallons of diesel annually, and will also serve as a carport with electric vehicle charging stations. It was made possible by a grant from the Government of the United Arab Emirates, through the UAE-Caribbean Renewable Energy Fund. “Our vision is to deliver world-class renewable energy technology to meet the needs of a developing and expanding 21 st Century economy,” Prime Minister Minnis said.
“The energy generated from these solar panels will feed into our national grid, and as I understand it, will offset some of the electricity usages of neighboring schools.” One of the key priorities of the Minnis Administration is that 30 percent of the country’s total electricity matrix should be comprised of renewable sources by 2030.
The target is part of an international commitment made by The Bahamas as a party to the 2015 United Nations Paris Agreement on Climate Change. The Prime Minister noted that while The Bahamas contributes very little to the emission of greenhouse gases, and the corresponding threat of climate change, it is extremely vulnerable to its effects.
“The Bahamas can demonstrate that even the smallest countries can make a difference when we pool our resources and focus on solutions that benefit humanity,” said Prime Minister Minnis. The Government of The Bahamas owns and operates rooftops, parking lots and green spaces ripe for multi-purpose uses such as the introduction
of solar technology. The administration’s energy sector reform includes energy conservation, the use of the country’s renewable resources to reduce the carbon footprint and the provision of more affordable energy to residents, small businesses and larger commercial enterprises. Last month, the Ministry of Environment and Housing engaged Woslee Construction to begin the roof-mounted installation at the Anatol Rodgers High School. The project is now in the procurement stage and construction is set to being in the coming weeks.
“Just this morning, the Request for Qualifications for the installation of roof mounted solar at the T G Glover Primary School and the ground-mounted solar at the Office of the Prime Minister went up on The Bahamas Government website,” Prime Minister Minnis noted.
“We are making progress in our efforts to incorporate solar power generation into the Ragged Island electricity grid. This will make Ragged Island the first green-smart island in The Bahamas.”
A techno-economic modeling for the island’s electric grid has already been conducted. The proposed solar array and battery storage system is projected to provide 95 percent of the island’s electrical needs.
Energy audits of government schools and buildings are expected to begin in short order, and the Government is continuing its engagement with the Carbon War Room/Rocky Mountain Institute to stabilize the cost of electricity; increase the resiliency of distribution grids; diversity the local job market; and provide capacity building opportunities for Bahamians interested in getting into the green energy sector.
Prime Minister Minnis said the Government is also working diligently to find other suitable grants and partnerships, and to continue its partnership with the UAE and Masdar – responsible for technical management – in order to expand the use of renewable energy throughout the Commonwealth.Energy reform is one of the key goals being monitored and supported by the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister.