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Bahamas Solar Installation Training Potential: Unlimited in Scope

Bahamas solar installationAlthough solar energy has become a hot environmental and economic issue across the globe, few sovereign nations enjoy solar potential comparable to that of the Bahamas.  Not only is the region rich in natural sun, but it is also currently 100% dependent on fossil fuel, leaving almost unlimited room for improvement.

The Bahamas’ National Electric Utility (BEC) relies on diesel and gas turbine generators to power its 436MW of installed electricity capacity.  But with volatile fuel prices and growing environmental concerns, the nation’s government has begun exploring alternative strategies to protect local tourism and the country’s delicate ecosystem.

Energy Efficiency and Solar Power Installations

Energy efficiency remains a critical pillar of the Bahamas’ green push, with various tax incentives and public service announcements designed to educate citizens about the benefits of conserving precious resources.  However, greater efficiency alone cannot wean the country off of its oil dependence.  In fact, increased efficiency paradoxically raises consumption when such efforts are not coupled with new energy alternatives.

In its most recent energy audit, the Bahamian government determined that a mix of wind, water, solar, and recycled waste would be necessary to move the country towards greater sustainability.  According to its report, solar lighting installations on government buildings emerged as a cost-effective strategy.  In addition, all schools should be outfitted with solar technology to power air conditioning, lighting systems, and other resource-hungry applications.  And homeowners should be encouraged to install solar heating and cooling technologies through various government incentives.

Solar PV Training As Protection Against a Volatile Tourism Economy

With numerous solar-related projects and initiatives in the pipeline, many Bahamian residents are turning their attention to solar installation training and green certification courses.  For whereas tourism suffers from both seasonal and cyclical volatility, solar jobs enjoy consistent (if not growing) demand from nearly every sector, including commercial, residential, and governmental.

However, the Bahamas faces a unique challenge.  Despite its unlimited solar potential and rising demand for solar installers, it lacks the necessary infrastructure to train and certify a green workforce.

This gap will undoubtedly change as the government expands its mandate and invests in the requisite training, but until then, many are increasingly turning to nearby markets like Florida to complete their training.  Blessed with a comparable climate and similar levels of solar radiation, Florida allows students to master the necessary solar PV installation skills with minimal adjustments once they return home.

In fact, schools like South Florida’s US Solar Institute, based in Fort Lauderdale, are increasingly gearing their curricula to the needs of Bahamian students as a direct result of their growing interest in solar PV installation training.  According to USSI’s President, Ray Johnson, “The technical aspects and safety measures are critical for the optimal success of our students and we place an emphasis on tropical conditions and high wind velocity zones (HWVZ).  This, coupled with our close proximity to the Caribbean, has made US Solar the leader in solar training and solar parts distribution for the Bahamas.”

Johnson goes on to say, “Since 2009, US Solar has been a partner of BTVI and the MOPT while training many of the electrical inspectors and electricians for the inevitable solar revolution in the Bahamas and throughout the Caribbean.  We’ve made a commitment to Minister Neymore back then that these partnerships would bring the necessary education within reach of all Bahamians.  In 2012, US Solar International and US Solar Institute have plans to provide a branch campus and office in Nassau to help even more.”

In addition to USSI’s regionally focused solar PV training, the program has also developed a specialized branch for solar engineering services and the sale of solar equipment.  What US Solar refers to as “solar parts & solar smarts,” was specifically designed to address some of the challenges that residents in the Bahamas face when exploring new solar technologies.

Source: http://info.ussolarinstitute.com



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