Hotels missing out
Operators urged to use fund to cut energy costs
As hotel operators continue to struggle with increasing energy costs they are being urged to take up available funding to carry out renewable energy projects.
Chief executive officer of the Enterprise Growth Fund Limited (EGFL) Timothy Simmons said since the introduction of the fund’s loan facility about ten years ago, only two hotels have so far applied.
He acknowledged that high energy costs were “a major bugbear” for many businesses and said it was therefore critical for businesses, especially hotels to outfit their facilities with renewable energy systems.
“I would like to see more hotels and more energy intensive businesses tap into this fund. It lends at 3.75 per cent, which in this environment is literally unbeatable, and it lends up to ten to 12 years, which gives businesses a long time to repay at rates that don’t put a burden on their cash flow,” Simmons said at a media conference yesterday.
He later told Barbados TODAY that only one hotel has so far been approved for $1.5 million and the application of another is under review.
“The payback periods for photovoltaic and renewable energy projects and energy efficiency projects are very short and it will help to improve the cost competitiveness of several of the hotels who are crying out in this environment,” added Simmons.
He suggested that one of the reasons hotels were not rushing to take up the offer may be the perception that the process involved too much red tape. However, Simmons said, that was not the case.
“You have to do an energy audit, a technical evaluation of the project and a financial review to see whether it is feasible that the loan can be repaid. It is a two-step process and I don’t know if there may be a misperception that it is bureaucratic. But so far we have approved ten loans [including] a mini mart . . . So if a business as small as a mini mart can access the fund I don’t see why a hotel which is much larger in scale and operation can’t access the fund. I really would want to use this opportunity to encourage hotels to come to the fund before all is gone because the uptake is fairly rapid,” the EGFL chief executive said.
He said that so far the EGFL had approved $6.1 million in investments, of which about $3 million has been disbursed.
Simmons made the comments as ice cream manufacturer BICO announced the completion of a near $1 million solar photovoltaic installation. BICO is one of ten beneficiaries of the Fund.