[The Guardian]: Tell us about your company.
Guilden: We are a full renewable energy company also providing energy saving options like LED lighting for virtually any application. From the renewable energy perspective, we offer Photovoltaic (PV) systems, solar street and garden lighting, solar water heaters, solar pool heaters, solar pool pumps and solar well pumps. Along with our Jamaican partner, Alternative Power Sources, we are one of the largest and most experienced renewable energy companies in the Caribbean and we are the only regional company to be nominated for the American Energy Engineers Renewable Energy Project of the Year. This nomination was put forward for a 1,000 home development in Jamaica, for which we are supplying and installing solar street and garden lights, PV systems and solar water heaters.
[The Guardian]: What have been some of the successes and challenges around working in the alternative energy field in The Bahamas?
Guilden: This biggest challenge is getting potential clients to commit to spending the capital for PV systems. We have quoted quite a number of prospects, but many are reluctant to actually spend the money upfront to make gains on the back end. The other stumbling block is the fact that we do not have legislative support to send excess power back to the BEC grid. Hopefully in the not too distant future we will see legislative reforms that will introduce either net billing or net metering when excess power is sent to the BEC grid from homes that have self-generation of power. This will also reduce the pay-back period of PV systems.
[The Guardian]: Tell us about the training program you have launched. Why do you think it’s an important step?
Guilden: We have signed an Articulation Agreement with BTVI to launch a Certified PV Installer course. The course is certified by the Electronic Technicians Association and any person who takes the course and passes the certification exam will be a recognized PV installer globally. It opens up opportunities for Bahamians outside of the country. Our goal in getting this course here is to help to create a fully trained and certified PV workforce so that homeowners and commercial establishments that wish to use PV for full or supplemental power will know that the person handling the installation is certified to do so. This in and of itself should bring a level of comfort that systems are being properly installed. As a company, our goal is to be 100 percent Bahamian from an employment perspective. This course will allow us to fulfil that internally set mandate, as we will have a number of certified installers within the market to select from. We believe this is an industry in and of itself, so we do anticipate that this course will also see the emergence of new companies focusing on entering the sector.