THERE has been an aggressive push towards renewable energy in Barbados so far this year, with major companies leading the way by implementing photovoltaic systems and generally making attempts to go green to save money and protect the environment. Major companies in Barbados such as BICO and Red Advertising have joined those looking to save electricity cost and finding greener ways to do business.
Ralph “Bizzy” Williams, Founder and Chairman of Williams Industries Inc. has widely discussed the importance of Barbados going towards alternative forms of energy as he has led many discussions on projects such as wind farms, waste to energy plant, etc. A few months ago at ‘Red goes Green’ he commended individuals and companies for realising the benefits of PV technology both from an environmental and financial stand point.
It has been said in many forums that there has been an explosion in renewable energy in Barbados. A few months ago Adrian Carter, 2014 De La Rue Scholar and Former Central Banker stated, “the development of the renewable energy market and photovoltaic energy requires regulation but also solutions to deal with this growing market and how it will impact the country. The growth in photovoltaic penetration is phenomenal, we expect this area of the market to continue to grow, but this growth will also bring challenges to the market, that has to be addressed using unique methods because of the uniqueness of our market.”
The step towards photovoltaic technology is expected to improve business. A renewable Energy system has been installed at BICO at a cost of around $900,000 which is intended to have pay back in three years, thus reducing demand of fossil fuels and improving profitability. Speaking recently as the new system was unveiled to local media and industry associates, BICO’s Executive Chairman, Edwin Thirlwell said “The PV system installed and commissioned by Emera Caribbean Renewable is expected to shave thousands of dollars per annum off BICO’s energy bills, thereby having a significant impact on the company’s operating costs especially in the Harbour Coldstore Division.”
Managing Director of Red Advertising & Marketing Limited, Jevan Jutagir echoed similar sentiments as they too have commissioned an energy saving photo voltaic system through Williams Solar, “going green just makes financial sense for the company and generally for the Barbadian economy, and renewable is where Barbados needs to go. This system is probably over 100 thousand dollars, and in terms of savings our light bill was probably over 2000 a month, so the savings will quickly add up. In five years we would pay off for our system and the rate of return on investment (ROI) is approximately 16 per cent.”
Gleeson Roach, Project Manager at Williams Solar indicated, “The interest is relatively high but many people are struck with the upfront cost and that plays a significant role in the decision to go forward with the system, but there is still a high demand for renewable [energy] in Barbados. The volume in terms of the number of queries actually come from residential but commercially there is still major interest.”
This market is definitely opening up for Barbados, but the question of sustainability is still a point of concern as the debate on the cap continues. Some have stated that other industries have been planned in an adhoc manner and that we need a master plan in this budding field. Also, in Barbados there should focus on different forms of alternative energy.
Heiko Stieber, Senior Product Manager of Hybrid Energy Solutions by German firm, SMA Solar Technology AG believes, “There should be a master plan to decide how much renewable energy to integrate from year to year [as it] is important for countries moving in this direction. Germany now produces 20 per cent of electricity from alternative energy. We have to rely on a mixture of alot of renewable energy sources, it is not just wind or solar, it is also thermal energy using storages may also be an idea. It has to be a mixture of everything to stabilise the system, you can’t just rely on one source.”
“Some of the suggestions that I have for the Barbados master plan is that you have a lot of sunshine but there is also availability of wind, but this would not be the only two sources. I would also look at conventional sources but efficient systems, also there may be a chance for thermal power if you have the availability here. Generally, what I am suggesting is the mixture of different production systems.” (NB)
Source: www.barbadosadvocate.com