Barbados government buildings poised for $5.5m solar retrofit

The government of Barbados is due to install solar panels atop its government buildings starting in October in a (US)$5.5 million retrofit project.

Solar Watts Systems Inc., a local developer, will begin the installation of the PV array at Government Headquarters in Bay Street, Barbados, in October, with an additional 12 government buildings to follow.

Senator Darcy Boyce, who is the minister for energy, has overseen the agreement, which includes funding from the Inter-American Development Bank and the European Union, which has loaned monies from its Public Sector Smart Energy Program.

Barbados government buildings to be retrofitted with solar panels will include the Ministry of Agriculture, Food, Fisheries and Water Resource Management; the National Housing Corporation; the Queen Elizabeth Hospital; the Frank Walcott Building; the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Conference Centre and the Grantley Adams International Airport.

The government of the Caribbean nation calculates that it can save around $16 million a year on electricity following the implementation of these measures. Senator Boyce also revealed that in addition to solar rooftop arrays, the program will also include the implementation of an electric vehicle pilot project, a study into ocean energy and a widescale public lighting retrofit.

Further, the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation is also in discussions to support the installation of rooftop PV atop many commercial and industrial premises. “Our aim is to reduce the electricity bill in the public service by making as many of our buildings energy efficient as possible and by earning income from solar PV,” said Boyce.

“Government will do its utmost to encourage others to adopt renewable energy and energy efficiency wherever feasible and, in doing so, will seek to use itself as an example for others.”