Belize Solar Industry Alliance Implores GOB to Revise New Solar Energy Regulations

Belize Solar Industry Alliance Implores GOB to Revise New Solar Energy Regulations

A group calling themselves the Belize Solar Industry Alliance (BSIA) is calling on the government to revise recently passed legislation governing solar energy. The collective of businesses issued a release today, stating that the new Electricity Licensing and Consent Regulations include tariffs that disincentivize local solar production. Under the new laws, the Public Utilities Commission’s three categories of licenses have been expanded to fifteen different licenses, which range from 100 to 10,000 dollars in cost. The categories cover a range of people, from those generating just enough for their homes to persons seeking to construct industrial wind, solar, or biofuel plants. The BSIA believes that the PUC should revisit the tariffs and fees to encourage solar producers to join the national grid and sell their excess energy. Jeremiah Allen, the BSIA’s spokesperson, echoed the group’s requests and why it feels the new laws are not in the best interest of stakeholders in the renewable energy sector.

Jeremiah Allen, Spokesperson BSIA: “BSIA feels like the process that PUC and BEL endeavored to undertake over the past nine months or whatnot with public discourse hasn’t achieved these goals as well as they could have and we would like them to come back to the table and take another look at and revisit the legislation and modify it so that it’s more beneficial both to the consumer as well as to the grid. First and foremost there is already an installed userbase around Belize who have made the investment and purchased solar and they wish to, they want to not only benefit themselves but also benefit the grid. They have the capacity to produce extra solar power beyond their own needs to support the grid to the tune of over 250 homes worth of energy just the 12 signers on our group at this point and we’re growing day by day. The new legislation which has been proposed and implemented now, it prevents the investors from seeing a positive economic return, a short-term economic return. So the return on investment for somebody wanting to get into rooftop solar, especially say in the residential sector, individuals who want to put solar on their homes to reduce their own energy reliance and also the energy cost, and also to benefit the national grid and their neighbors. These oftentimes will see their investment requiring a 10, 12, 15 year return timeframe which is just not economically encouraging, right? So it’s a discouraging legislation in those cases.”

Allen added that while the group has made several attempts to express their concerns to GOB, they have not been able to obtain an audience with the regulator. 

Jeremiah Allen, Spokesperson BSIA: “Over the past few weeks especially, the whole country has been gripped by power troubles, right? And we have been in dialogues with BEL and PUC, as I said, for about the past nine months. These dialogues, which we have had with them, appear to have fallen on deaf ears, as you say. The reason we say that would be that we have provided many times numerous feedback, whether in public or in private discourse. And the proposed legislation that was presented to us nine months ago has not changed, not one iota, to what they passed last month. In other words, the suggestions and the feedback that we gave appears to have fallen on deaf ears. And we’re imploring them on behalf of the public, on behalf of the Belizean people, and on our national grid, we think sustainable solar energy, which just we have in such tremendous abundance here in Belize, so much sunshine is better than importing foreign power.”

Allen notes that while they are not against the industry being regulated, the group feels there is a need for consultation.

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