More opportunities are opening up for ordinary Barbadians to make money from generating renewable energy.
This is the view of President of the Barbados Renewable Energy Association (BREA) Aidan Rogers.
In an interview with Barbados TODAY, he said a decision by the Fair Trading Commission (FTC) earlier this year has created a new window of opportunity for citizens to become small, independent power providers to the national grid.
The July 13 decision to review the previous Renewable Energy Rider (RER), which had governed the setting of rates for renewable energy since 2014, included major shifts in the rate structure and amount of energy that Barbadians and foreigners could invest in. Fixed rates were determined for energy generated by the sun and wind. Those rates were de-linked from the volatility of crude oil prices and Barbadians were allowed to invest in larger electricity-generating systems.
“We are talking about empowering the ordinary citizen to create wealth, literally in their own backyard. So the grandson of the little old lady who has a half acre of land may go to granny and strike up a deal to utilize that land as a revenue-earning source, providing monthly income,” Rogers explained, adding that finance institutions, community-based organizations and businesses, large and small, also had the opportunity to generate revenue.
“The scene has changed. Yes, investment in a renewable energy system that reduces or eliminates your monthly electricity bills remains absolutely critical to economic development as it reduces dependence on imported crude oil. And yes, businesses will lower their operating cost and be more competitive. But added to these options now is another to facilitate wealth creation at the lowest income level,” the BREA head pointed out.
The FTC set fixed rates of 41.6 cents per kilowatt hour for solar photovoltaic systems which feed power to the grid and 31.5 cents for wind-generated energy. The ceiling was raised for maximum capacity under the RER, from 150 kilowatts to 500 kilowatts.
The decision provided greater certainty for investors and broadened the capacity and, consequently, earning capability of investors.
Rogers, an attorney-at-law, said BREA would be taking this new investment model to a regional conference and exposition which it is organizing. The event will be held November 10-11 at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, and Rogers is urging Barbadians and businesses to register for what he describes as potentially the most influential energy conference of the year.