Sen. Telena Nelson, the legislative chairwoman on utilities, toured a solar-powered home on Guam capable of sustaining itself apart from the islandwide power grid. The tour was part of the senator's efforts to understand the technology and potentially use it as an avenue for the government of Guam to stave off rising utility costs.
"It's possible to look at other ways to incorporate renewable energy in our everyday life," Nelson said. "This shows the options that consumers have to either completely (live) off the grid, or look at renewable energy for other means of power."
The home Nelson visited, owned by Pacific Solar and Photovoltaics General Manager Scott Hagen, utilizes a directly purchased solar and battery system valued at over $40,000. Nelson said that while costs are high, solar energy was a good avenue for investment to recoup returns in the long run.
'Make power more affordable'
Nelson added that she did want to find ways to incorporate renewable energy into government operations, as well as look for ways to help ratepayers facing higher utility rates.
"We're trying to find ways to pull apart the onion and see what we can do to make power more affordable for people," Nelson said.
"I'm working with the renewable energy industry and experts from off island."
Renewable energy bills
The 33rd Guam Legislature had introduced several pieces of legislation related to renewable energy and its use for GovGuam agencies. Among these were a renewable energy bill of rights and a community solar proposal that would facilitate solar energy use for people not normally able to utilize it, such as apartment tenants. Neither bill has been reintroduced yet in the 34th Guam Legislature.
Nelson said she was still in the research phase and would need to look at the specifics of past legislation.
"We're still exploring the options. It's been hit so many times so we're trying to do a lot of research and development on this and to get the community involved, that's one of our biggest challenges," Nelson said.
"Once we do that then we will work with the industry to help with the policy making."