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“Survivability” with aTec

Q & A with aTec Managing Director Dana Miller

“Survivability” is the current industry term being used by alternative energy pioneers.

After Irma, the grim yet transparently honest question has been, “how does the BVI survive if another storm of that category hits?”

aTec—a locally owned business with employees native to the Territory—possess a clear vision to “facilitate the transition to renewable energy systems in the BVI and the wider Caribbean region,” as professed by Managing Director Dana Miller.

With this ethos at the foundation of their commitment, aTec were instrumental in quickly restoring many companies and residences to full power with the sustainable energy sources and generators they utilise, following Irma.

Such organisations as renowned international offshore law firm Harneys, Caribbean communications giant Digicel, and savvy residents who have converted to alternative energy, relished the benefits that aTec have been promoting since their launch in 2013. 

I spoke to Dana about the arduous time of Irma and titbits of the interesting story of aTec’s assistance in the aftermath.

  • Who are aTec?

I founded the company in 2013 with the goal of bringing renewable energy systems to the BVI and the wider region of the Caribbean. Our team is friendly and professional and we make the client experience with us a top priority. We want clients to be satisfied and happy with their power generation system and our service response time. All of our staff are NABCEP and EGSA qualified with our team stationed in the BVI, which is a huge benefit for efficient service.

I would recommend…aTec for any electrical contracting work, particularly systems that are more difficult and need technical expertise from the best in the business—Geoff Manchester, Director of Engineering, Private Island in the British Virgin Islands

  • What sorts of products are aTec offering at this point in time that are most popular?

The most popular products we offer are our solar electric units with battery backup. This is because of the obvious benefit; you can store energy and it will save you lots of money over the diesel alternative.

[aTec] have been with us 100% of the time and continue to be my go-to team in the BVI, they are very friendly and professional. The new system is functioning very reliably at this point and we continue to push for a 100% renewable energy resort in the near future—Andy Murrant, General Manager, Cooper Island Beach Club, BVI

  • What does aTec offer in light of the cat-five storm that created an island power outage?

We offer survivable system installation; systems specifically designed and engineered to withstand hurricane force winds. After Irma, aTec were working 24 hours a day, seven days a week with our clients both with generators and renewable energy, and many of them had continued power access with little or no interruption. I think it’s also important to note that our solar panels survived the 180mph plus winds.

  • The big question—how did aTec help in the recovery effort after Irma?  

After the storm, we got up and running as soon as we could. We sharpened the chainsaws and got to work. A local farmer friend of mine showed up in Shannon and he turned out to be a chainsaw master. He had lost his home so he lived with me from that point out. We secured our own community and base of operations with power by keeping all generators running. Then, we hired a cook from Myetts to consolidate food preparation and refrigeration. In this way, we were able to get our crews up and running immediately after the storm by providing them with shelter, food, water, and a little spending money. We evacuated all of our team’s family that needed to be evacuated.

The crew was up and running right away keeping the Digicel cell towers powered up so that communications did not go down. I have to give a huge thank you to the aTec team members who worked tirelessly to keep critical infrastructure up while also looking after their own homes and families.

Although the equipment and initial installation can seem expensive, it is important to factor in the utility cost savings over many years, the convenience of having your own power source and the fact that you are helping your community become energy independent and less reliant on dirty fossil fuels. As Irma so graphically demonstrated, global warming is not an abstract concept that will affect ‘future generations,’ but a real and present danger, here and now—Ben Bamford, Residential Home Owner

  • How did you facilitate all this?

We brought in Shakti as a marketing and personal assistant and she has been a God send. She took over many of the managerial and administrative duties that needed to be done. We also housed a young lady who had just started working for the Beacon and had been displaced by the storm. We had to start a form of triage for power production where the highest priority took precedence at any time.

This was a real emergency scenario. It was hard for our clients to understand that we had to redirect their generators to more important positions within the island while trying to keep them happy as well, but the main point about all this was that natural alternative energy resources—renewable energy—was still working throughout a time when fossil fuel energy was failing us.

This is why it’s so important that people realise the potential and security of alternative energy—it is reliable, safe, secure, and dependable even in the most difficult case scenarios as we have seen with Irma.

aTec were instrumental in returning communications to the BVI through Digicel only two days after Irma. They kept neighbourhoods running; those who had installed solar power at their homes.

Within approximately two weeks, Harneys also had power at their offices using a generator installed/managed by aTec and were able to continue their business without too much interruption.

If you are interested in the possibility of alternative energy resources in your home or business and would like to discuss the options, please contact aTec

www.atecbvi.com

https://www.facebook.com/atecbvi 

Mobile: +1 284 340 3409

Office:  +1 284 495 0005

Photography by Dana Miller and Shakti Segura

Erin Paviour-Smith

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