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BTVI Reviving Its Solar Program

With a curriculum already developed and equipment in place, The Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute (BTVI) is prepared to go full-force with its solar training program which will meet the needs of an emerging clean energy industry and help to train a skilled workforce.

Initially, the one-year program was offered during the 2009-2010 academic year, focusing mainly on theory with minimal practicum. Now that practical component to augment the theory is expected to come on stream in 2014. Three pieces of solar equipment have been purchased and Mechanical Engineer from Hampden Engineering Corporation in Massachusetts, Bryan Methe, was recently in The Bahamas to train BTVI instructors who will be conducting the program.

“Green energy is growing and it teaches us to be more environmentally responsible.  This training is invaluable. It’s about cleaner energy,” said Mr. Methe who has also conducted training in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Australia and throughout the United States (U.S).

The equipment arrived at the BTVI campus unwired, and purposely so that students could learn and practice the wiring, operation and layout.  They will become knowledgeable on where to place solar panels, the amount of sunlight needed to power them and differentiate between using them as stand-along energy sources and tying them to an electrical grid.

BTVI’s Dean of Construction Trades, Alexander Darville noted the benefits of solar energy; hence, the importance of the program: “With the cost of fuel, what the fuel is doing to the environment and the availability of sun, solar is the way to go.”

Mr. Darville, however noted that hampering the industry is the lack of legislation for net metering.  “Consumers should get incentives for installing solar systems,” he suggested. This is the case in the U.S where the government offers   financial incentives to encourage businesses to invest in renewable energy.

Meanwhile, solar energy instructor, Wellington Bain acknowledged that although the equipment is expensive, home owners should consider investing in solar equipment.  “The world is becoming solarized.  It is growing towards more energy efficiency.  We have to run with it,” he emphasized.

The Bahamas Technical & Vocational Institute

Cations: SOLAR PANEL – Mechanical Engineer from Hampden Engineering Corporation in Massachusetts, Bryan Methe (r), discussing the solar panel with BTVI instructor and head of Technical Services, Wellington Bain (l).

TRAINING THE TRAINERS – BTVI is preparing to revive its solar program with the added emphasis of the practical component.  Hampden Engineering Corporation in Massachusetts was responsible for the technical training of BTVI’s Photovoltaic Installation Trainer equipment.  Shown here from left to right are: Electrical instructor, Gregory Curry; Hampden’s Mechanical Engineer, Bryan Methe; solar instructor and Head of Technical Services, Wellington Bain along with Dean of Construction Trades and solar instructor, Alexander Darville.

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