February 22, 2012

Bahamas Minister Phenton Neymour visits OPS microgrid system

In April 2010, Optimal Power Solutions (OPS) commissioned a renewable energy-based microgrid in the Bahamas that combined photovoltaic, wind, and diesel sources and energy storage facilities under the control of OPS Hybrid Power Conditioner (HPC) central inverters. This system has caught the attention of Hon. Phenton Neymour, State Minister for the Environment. In April 2011, the National Energy Policy (NEP) was introduced to address the nation’s energy costs and challenges by promoting other sources of energy such as renewable energy produced by wind, sunlight and biomass.

The Bahamas Governments proposal to provide a solution amongst the archipelago nation was to harness solar and wind energy providing electricity independently. The first system introduced was the Over Yonder Cay renewable energy system featuring OPS HPC technology.

OPS HPC inverters are sophisticated bi-directional power conditioners featuring advanced fast control algorithms which accommodate a range of power sources and storage technologies. The HPC ensures high quality power output under varied or cloudy conditions and support high levels of solar penetration, including zero diesel fuel consumption power systems. OPS has a proven track record of successful off-grid projects around the world ranging from 10kW to 1MW of installed PV.

Following Energy Week celebrations on November 18, 2011, Minister Neymour visited Over Yonder Cays and the $6 million renewable energy investment. The system is seen as a fantastic solution for the distribution of energy in the Family Islands.
“We are looking at Renewable Energy for the future of The Bahamas, particularly in the Exuma Cays, where the environment is very sensitive,” said the Hon. Phenton Neymour, speaking during a visit to the Over Yonder Cay system.

“First of all in the Family Islands, renewable energy is feasible. When we approached the project from a financial standpoint that is where the encouragement is,” Neymour said. “And on this particular island, where there is challenges to bring in fuel, it was financially feasible and the investor saw that it was best for him. One of the things we did was lower the duty rates on renewable energy and equipment, so that was an investment there and encouraged the project from a financial standpoint.”

“We looked at the cost of production in regards to the transfer of the equipment, the cost to continuously supply diesel, and in fact when it was looked at in regards to the project as a whole, the cost of renewable energy would have paid for itself in five to six years, so this was a more feasible project. It is now coming to completion.”

OPS product manager Ezequiel Paolinelli describes, “After the installation of the third 100kW Wind Turbine in 2011, the system is able to support the load during the day and night without the need of diesel generators. The 2.16MWh battery bank gets charged with the excess power from wind turbines and solar panels and provides support during times where these sources are not enough. The SCADA installed at site allows the operator to have full control over the whole station and offers remote monitoring from anywhere in the world.  The Over Yonder Cay system guarantees an uninterrupted supply of electricity, drawn from renewable energy sources.”