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Thinking of installing a PV System?

June 03, 2014 . By Neil Hutchinson, Studio Blue Architects Inc.
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Pv Panels & Sunny Boy Inverter

As WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY is coming up on the 5th June we thought we would share our first hand experience of installing a Photovoltaic (PV) System.

In basic terms, photovoltaics are panels used to generate renewable energy from the sun. Our managing Director Neil Hutchinson and his family commissioned Solar Watt Systems Inc to install a PV system on their home earlier this year. They supplied and installed a 2Kw Grid tied system consisting of 8 panels together with a 3Kw inverter (this is what converts the DC current from the panels into usable AC current) for a grand total of $16,232 Bds. The over sized 3Kw inverter will allow Neil to add another 1Kw (4 panels) to the system in the future. The system was sized to cater for their current usage of between 200 to 240Kwh/month (6 to 8Kwh per day) ~ in layman terms their bill was normally between $180Bds to $200 per month.

The installation was completed in Mid February and they were connected to the grid by mid May, the main delays due to the Government Electrical Engineering Departments inspections / paperwork and the Barbados Light and Power approvals and installations of the new meters. BL&P installed 2 meters: one records the total energy generated by the PV system and the other records the energy bought from the grid / the energy sold to the grid. During the day the house uses what energy it needs and the excess is fed into the grid. At night the house is fed from the grid. When they received their first bill with the system connected it was $35 in credit!!

The system installed also incorporates an emergency 1500W back-up supply for when the power is off - such as after a hurricane. This is essentially a designated plug point(s) where essential items like the refrigerator and freezer can be plugged in during the day. This is a great feature for a grid tied system where you would normally not have any power in a power outage as there would be no batteries to store the energy. This feature basically allows you to use the energy being generated at that point in time (up to 1500 watts).

The panels come with a 25 year warranty, the Inverter a 5 year warranty and labour a 1 year warranty. The racking system is aluminium (no rusting!!) and designed to withstand wind speeds of up to 120mph.

The payback period will be approx 4 1/2 years factoring in the tax incentives and current energy costs. In very basic mathematics:
• Savings from Tax incentives – You are allowed to claim a Tax deductible allowance of up to $10,000/year for up to 5 years – therefore the Tax payable @ 35% (as they are in that bracket) on $16,232 = $5,681.20
• Savings from energy generated - Approx $200 of energy generated per month for 4 1/2 years (54 months) = $10,800 Bds

Once the two savings above are added: $10,800 + $5,681.20 = $16,481.20.....the savings are a bit more than the initial investment.

After 5 years…..“It’s all gravy”… as the ole' people would say!! Photovoltaics are environmentally friendly, clean and affordable so get on board today!!! If you have any queries please do not hesitate to contact us or Solar Watt Systems Inc at

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