Gov't planning its own solar initiative
As Government hopes to replicate the massive solar project of the just launched Williams everGreen Ltd, it is also hoping for faster penetration of the local market using solar energy in the next five years.
Word of this came this evening from Minister of Finance Christopher Sinckler, who praised the new company, which is part of the Williams Industries Inc group, for its vision.
Barbados has been using solar energy for more than 40 years to mostly heat water, he noted, questioning why more substantial uses of this form of energy had not been explored long before now.
“So as the solar industry has led in relation to savings on fuel import costs and direct energy savings, so too we must grab the opportunity to use other sources of energy and other differentiated products in the solar industry in order to help us reach our goals,” said Sinckler.
Williams everGreen Ltd represents a US$700 million investment in solar electricity systems, which Williams Industries Chairman Ralph “Bizzy” Williams noted could save Barbados $28 million in foreign exchange that would otherwise be spent on oil, during the 25 year lifespan of the systems.
The company has embarked on a massive project that has already seen the beginning of the retrofitting of most of the roofs of its related companies mainly in the St. Thomas and St. Michael areas.
Sinckler said though: “We are seeking to replicate this… to the extent that within the next five years in the areas of renewable energy, such as photovoltaic, it is certainly our intention to ensure we have an even faster rate of penetration in relation to the use of such to power and energise Barbadian households and businesses.
“There are several initiatives that are being pursued in this regard … and these are associated with the sustainable energy framework for Barbados, the first that we have produced since independence and ever in the history of Barbados.”
The initiative, he said, were aimed at “promoting strong and sustainable economic growth by reducing foreign oil dependency, increasing our energy security, promoting renewable energy and efficiency, creating jobs, and promoting public awareness and education about conservation and efficient uses of energy”. (LB)