The solar water heating industry in Barbados could soon feel the warmth of a financial concession from the Government. Minister of Commerce Donville Inniss promised this afternoon that he would propose to Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler a slashing of the Value Added Tax on the finished product.
Speaking at the end of a tour of Sunpower Hot Water Systems at Searles, Christ Church, Inniss said this sector deserved some form of relief, just as the renewable energy did.
“A good case can be made for us to give further positive consideration to the solar water heating industry, in the sense that, when you look at what is being offered to the renewable energy sector, the fact that the solar water heating industry has been around for over 40 years . . . why, I think that they deserve it –– of consideration at least, in terms of perhaps lowering the rate of VAT on the finished product,” the minister explained.
He said the reduction in VAT would go some way in further stimulating the sector, and provide jobs and investment in particular.
“But they must all be seen within a context of Government seeking to really establish a firm footing within the alternative energy sector and to recognize the contribution that the companies like Sunpower have made to our being able to save quite a bit of foreign exchange on fossil fuel importation, while at the same time making the Barbadian companies comfortable,” the Minister of Commerce stated.
Sunpower sales director Henry Jordan said that a greening survey, which was recently presented to Sinckler had revealed that the solar water heating industry had saved Barbados about US$100 million in imported fossil fuel in 2002.