Renewable energy is important for the sustainable development of Barbados and The Barbados Light & Power Company is preparing for renewable energy generating systems to play an increasing role in its energy mix in the coming years. To facilitate the installation of these systems, our Company in its application to the Fair Trading Commission (FTC) in May 2009 included a proposal for a pilot programme for a Renewable Energy Rider pilot programme to allow a limited number of customers wishing to install grid connected photovoltaic and wind systems for their own personal use and to sell any excess energy to the company.

Integrating any type of decentralized generating system into the electricity grid can result in power quality and safety issues for customers, as well as for the company and its personnel. We therefore remind customers, who may have already purchased systems that arrangement for interconnection into the grid has not yet been finalized. As a result, any system that is connected to the electricity supply without Light & Power’s authorization is a potential safety hazard and should be disconnected immediately.

With the prices of these renewable systems continuing to fall, we expect that in the coming years they will become more affordable and the interest in them will increase. During the course of the pilot programme, we will be assessing the many issues associated with integrating these systems into the electricity grid, as well as the appropriateness of the proposed rate for reimbursing customers for the energy being sold into the grid. This will give us the opportunity to adequately prepare for the implementation of a permanent rate.

We are awaiting the outcome of the recently concluded consultation on the Renewable Energy Rider and the other pilot programmes. It is likely that after the FTC’s response is given it will take several weeks for us to finalize the details of this programme and to set up the necessary processes to receive customer applications and authorize the interconnection of these systems into the grid. We recommend that customers interested in participating in this programme wait until the details are finalized before purchasing their system.

As proposed, only a limited number of persons will be accommodated on the pilot programme. To be included, systems will need to meet the requirements of the Government Electrical Engineer’s Department (where appropriate). Customers will also need to conform to Light & Power’s interconnection requirements which will be communicated shortly through our website and other media.

About the Author

Peter Williams
Peter Williams - Managing Director, Light & Power Holdings Limited

Peter Williams is Managing Director of Light & Power Holdings Limited. He holds a BSc in Mechanical Engineering from Manchester University (UK), an MSc (Electrical Power Systems) from The University of the West Indies and an MBA from The Ivey Business School, University of Western Ontario, Canada. He is a Member of The Institution of Mechanical Engineers (UK) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (USA), and is a Past President of the Barbados Association of Professional Engineers.