Energy Minister Senator Darcy Boyce this morning flicked the switch at a beach facility operated by the National Conservation Commission to signal the launch of Government’s solar electricity roofs programme.
The solar-powered building at Pebbles Beach, Aquatic Gap, St. Michael, is the first of more than 100 Government buildings which will be outfitted with solar electricity systems. Contracts have already been awarded for 19 of these buildings, the Minister announced.
At a ceremony at the Hilton Hotel which preceded the flicking of the switch, contracts were signed between Government and Solar Energy Innovation Inc. for 10 schools involved in the project to be outfitted.
The schools involved are George Lamming Primary, St. Alban’s Primary, Christ Church Girls’ School, Reynold Weekes Primary, All Saint’s Primary, The Lester Vaughan School, Queen’s College, The Alleyne School, St. Leonard’s Boys’ Secondary School and Ellerslie Secondary School.
At the ceremony, which was the first of a week of events planned to mark World Environment Day on Thursday, June 5, Senator Boyce noted that as a land-scarce country blessed with almost 365 days of sunshine, Barbados could not afford to waste the roof space around the island which could be used as generators of electricity.
Today’s event, he said, was an expression of Government’s tangible commitment to an accelerated solar electricity programme in the public sector. “We are merely seeking to replicate with the other areas of renewable energy what the country has done with solar water heaters,” the Energy Minister stated.
He noted that the national policy called for at least 30 per cent of all electricity produced in the island to be generated from renewable energy sources by 2029 and a decrease in energy consumption by 22 per cent.
According to Senator Boyce, these targets should now be achieved much earlier because of the several projects currently in the pipeline. Among them are the waste-to- energy plant and the conversion of bio-mass at Andrew’s Sugar Factory into electricity, which together should generate 50 megawatts of electricity.
Also on the agenda are the procurement of electrical vehicles for the public sector; the distribution of energy efficient lights; the retrofitting of Government buildings with energy-efficient technologies; and the replacement of over 25,000 street lights.