Emera Caribbean Renewables Ltd (ECRL) is reporting an increased interest in renewable energy systems among Barbadians especially in the last year.
This disclosure has come from ECRL’s Renewable Energy Manager Neilsen Beneby, who said he was expecting the interest to continue to grow as more financing options are made available and installation costs are lowered.
“There has always been interest in renewable energy as Barbados led the transition in the Caribbean [but] we did see an increase after the fed-in tariff programme was issued last year, and even now as the Government continues to push renewables. Renewable energy is being used as one of the stimulants to keep the economy going and rebound even after COVID-19 pandemic. So there is even further interest for customers to be a part of that,” he told reporters on Thursday.
It was at the end of September last year that the Fair Trading Commission (FTC) announced that suppliers of energy to the national grid would have a firm guarantee for their investment.
The assurance came as the regulator announced new feed-in-tariff rates and increased maximum capacity to the grid.
“We continue to get request for proposals, and we have also seen an increase in the number of contracts we are signing especially for the bigger commercial systems. So the public is interested,” said Beneby, who was unable to say what the exact number of installations were over the last year.
The eight-year-old ECRL is a project development and renewable installation company, which is a subsidiary of Emera Caribbean, owners of the Barbados Light & Power Company Ltd.
Beneby said while its primary market used to be the residential space, the company was now seeing a lot more interest from the commercial space “and we are preparing for the eventuality of lager utility scale projects that will come on stream in the coming years”.
He was speaking to reporters following the launch of a promotion by the company, that will see one local non-governmental organization (NGO) benefitting from an estimated $20,000 photovoltaic system by yearend.
The awareness campaign dubbed Solar Fuh We, will run from September 21 to October 21 and five finalists will be selected.
It will then be up to the Barbadian public to vote for the winner, which will all be done on Facebook.
The winner will receive the fully installed renewable energy system of up to 5 kWp (kilowatts peak) with complimentary maintenance.
To enter the ECRL competition, firms will have to outline in more than 100 words, how such a free photovoltaic system would be of value to them, and the work they do.
Officials are hoping that the promotion would create greater awareness on the benefits of solar energy and contribute to the overall goal of lowering the island’s fossil fuel emissions and dependency, while allowing the winning firm to earn revenue from the new asset. (MM)