MINISTRY OF ENERGY’S SOLAR HOUSE A SUCCESS

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Barbadians seem to be interested in the benefits of renewable energy, particularly solar power.  That is the finding of the Ministry of Energy and the Environment to its solar house project in Queen’s Park.

Calling the project “a resounding success”, Senior Technical Officer in the Ministry of Energy, William Hinds, revealed that since the launch of the solar house in June of this year, well over 1,000 persons, including students, tourists and private citizens, had visited Queen’s Park to get a first-hand look at it.

He added that the visits had stimulated tremendous interest in solar energy with some persons considering how best to use that technology in their homes.

“We have a lot of people who are building, and after visiting the house, they want to return for more information or even incorporate solar energy technology into their plans. People are starting to realise that the use of solar energy in the home is a reality and can be part of their lifestyle,” Mr. Hinds pointed out.

As part of the tour of the house, persons are also taught how to conduct proper energy audits in their homes, which could lead to increased savings. In addition, there are clinics on solar energy on Tuesdays.

It is estimated that a 20 dollar saving a month, per household, could lead to some 40 million dollars in savings annually for the country.

The cost of a household energy audit and recommended conservative materials/systems are also deductible under the Income Tax Home Allowance Scheme.

The Queen’s Park solar house is fully powered by photovoltaic panel arrays which are used to convert sunlight directly into electricity. It has a number of distinctive features that enable it to function as efficiently as possible, while simultaneously keeping the structure cool.  Among them are an insulated roof and walls, windows with a reflective tint and overhang, and ceiling fans for four of the rooms. The bathroom has also been fitted with energy saving devices, including a low flow toilet and faucets with aerators.

Mr. Hinds explained: “You can power your house completely with solar energy and it can be provided to any house. The structure looks and functions like an ordinary house and it is filled with your everyday appliances. With an increasing number of Barbadians complaining how hot their homes are, we also demonstrate ways to make your house cooler when you are building or even after it is built.”

Within the structure there are also a number of other renewable energy devices, all powered by solar energy, including chimes, toys, fans, sun pipe extensions (a tube to harness sunlight for lighting purposes) and a skylight.

Persons interested in information on solar energy or in registering for a tour of the solar house may contact Tracey Williams or William Hinds at 429-5581 or 427-9806.

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