Switch to solar power still too expensive, complains Clarke
Member of Parliament for St George North Gline Clarke has credited the Barbadian firm Solar Dynamics for its pioneering work over 40 years ago in the field of solar energy.
However, speaking in Parliament yesterday during debate on the resolution for the Barbados Green Economy Scoping Study, he lamented that the island has “slipped a lot in that area” since then.
Clarke stated that in the 20-plus years that he has been a parliamentarian several ministers of the environment have put forward documents on a green economy. He also acknowledged that past Governments had given incentives to advance the solar energy programme.
However, he said the sector’s development had not been consistent, as each programme had been changed by successive administrations.
“I believe that this whole notion of energy is so important that we must take it out of the political realm so that when the Government goes this programme should continue,” Clarke said.
In recent years the Barbados Renewable Energy Association has been working to raise awareness of energy efficient practices as well as renewable energy technology.
Various local, regional and international institutions have also been working with farmers and fishermen to encourage them to incorporate such practices in their businesses.
However, Clarke pointed out that while countries were seeking to reduce their use of fossil fuels, not all Barbadians could afford to make the switch to renewable energy.
“There are many persons who would want to move their homes, move their businesses into the renewable age but of course the initial financing is still a burden. Even though we know that the Government has provided incentives, the initial work is still expensive for the ordinary Barbadian,” Clarke said.
He added that Government must also bear in mind that many Barbadians were unable to secure financing from the financial institutions to make their homes and businesses more energy efficient.
“It is taking long for the Government institutions to put a plan in place. [In] the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Energy there are programmes in place but the ordinary Barbadians cannot access the financing, they cannot access information on how to do it.
“So the ordinary Barbadians today still have the old system of using power from the Barbados Light & Power [Company] so that when the current goes off in the village, the solar energy is not kicked in as we would have hoped,” Clarke said.