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Head of Delegation of the European Union to Barbados, the Eastern??Caribbean??and OECS, Mikael Barfod (left) and co-creator of the solar carport and electric vehicle charging station, Joanna Edghill, take a look at the Nissan Leaf electric vehicle, parked at the carport at Wildey Business Park. (Wayne Lewis/EU)??

Barbados’ future in greening got brighter last Friday, when the island’s first Solar Carport and Electric Vehicle Charging Station at Wildey Business Park officially opened.

The 14-bay carport, which is the brainchild of husband and wife team, Joanna Edghill and Simon Richards, both shareholders of Caribbean Consultants Limited (CCL), was described as "a step in the right direction" by Energy Minister, Darcy Boyce.

Commending the couple’s contribution to Barbados’ efforts to increase its renewable energy capacity, Senator Boyce said: "Although this is a small step, it is the start of something which we expect will gain momentum during the course of the next few years."

The husband and wife team has also launched Megapower, a stand-alone entity to CCL.?? The company, which will build and manage similar carport structures, has also imported Barbados’ first electric car, the Nissan Leaf.??

Outlining Government’s plans for renewable energy on the island, Minister Boyce said: "Indeed this year we shall be starting a pilot project with the Inter- American Development Bank which will include some work on the use of electric vehicles in Barbados." He added that Government would also be procuring electric vehicles as part of the pilot, in an effort to lead by example.

Sharing his sentiments on the future of renewable energy, Mr. Boyce stated: "Thirty per cent of fuel imports go into the transportation sector, 40 per cent go into the power generation sector, and our targets so far for renewable energy have been set in respect to the power generation sector… [It is expected] that the 30 per cent target that we set for ourselves for renewable energy by 2029 will be reached much sooner than then."

The Energy Minister also said that he expected those in the fuel distribution business would invest in similar solar charging stations, to benefit from the inevitable demand and contribute to the worthwhile national renewable energy focus.

Noting that there would be challenges, Senator Boyce said that although the Fair Trading Commission and the Barbados Light and Power had started some work with the renewable energy rider, attempting to change a whole sector took time.

"When you consider all the things that [we] have got to change – legislation, regulations, town planning rules and regulations, Government Electrical Engineering rules and regulations, [and] the training… [for those] who have to maintain these installations, when you think of the people who have to be trained to design them,…the warranties that have to be put in place,…you begin to realise the volume of work which is involved in this matter," he stressed.

The new solar carport features 102 solar photovoltaic, 265 watt monocrystalline Axitec panels from Germany.?? These will generate 27 kilowatt-peak, sufficient to fully charge seven electric vehicles per day, equivalent to 1100 kilometres per day.

The project was completed by CCL, with part funding from the Caribbean Export Development Agency, under the 10th European Development Fund Regional Private Sector Development Programme’s Direct Assistance Grant Scheme.

nekaelia.hutchinson@barbados.gov.bb

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