An estimated 15 businesses in Barbados have so far applied for energy audits under the Inter-American Development Bank-financed $20 million Energy Smart Fund.
Chief Executive Officer of the Government-run Enterprise Growth Fund, Timothy Symmonds, disclosed this morning that one loan, to the tune of $1 million, had so far been approved. Symmonds said that loan was for a business installing a renewable energy solution.
“They are actually putting in a significant PV generating system that would sell back into the grid,” he stated. “We have two loans that are a work in progress right now — one for $400,000 and one for $37,000, a small one. So the Smart Fund is on the road.
“And I encourage businesses to make applications to reduce the energy footprint and generate significant energy savings,” he added.
The Enterprise Growth Fund head advised that energy savings represented a risk-free investment.
“As long as you save electricity you don’t have to worry about containing that cost, the technology is proven to be efficient as long as it is properly installed,” he explained.
“Those savings would accrue over and over and over. The payback period on renewable energy systems happen to be around four and a half years, and the life span could go as far as 20 years; so it represents a no-brainer as far as businesses using this facility to improve their cost-efficiency in an environment where businesses are reeling and sinking under the weight of global recession seems to be persistent.”
He announced too, that work was ongoing regarding the light bulb giveaway component of the Energy Smart Fund.
“I think, initially when we started, we were looking at compact flourescent, but now there is a switch towards LED lighting, because the price of LED lights [is] dropping and they are proving to be a lot more efficient and more environmentally friendly than the compact flourescent.
“So we are working on the specifications; we are looking to partner with various retailers and perhaps with the Barbados Light & Power to come up with the logistics for the distribution of a couple million dollars worth of light bulbs,” Symmonds asserted.
He indicated that questions which had to be answered included who should be selected and the criteria for selection, taking into account that the two million dollars in bulbs, could not satisfy all households in Barbados.
“That is a work in progress and as soon as we sort out those logistics, hopefully, we would be able to roll out that programme. The hope is that we can do it before the end of the year,” he added.
However, he told Barbados TODAY that the more challenging component was the rebate on the efficient air conditioners.
“Because, the objective of that programme is to exchange inefficient air conditioners for efficient air conditioners that are non-ozone depleting: How do you dispose of the old inefficient ozone-depleting air conditioners?
“That’s something that’s being worked on by the Ministry of the Environment and the Energy Division; and as soon as we have a mechanism for the disposal of those old air conditioners, then we can roll out that programme.”
Symmonds revealed that a company called a Bulb Eater, may be engaged to work out a mechanism to get rid of the old energy inefficient bulbs. (EJ)