(Stock Photo)

The Energy Smart Fund has been re-capitalised to the sum of US $13.1 million to provide financial and technical support to eligible businesses for renewable energy and energy efficiency.

The funds are made up of US$6.7 million loan financing from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), and US$6.4 million grant resources from the European Union, for the second phase of the Sustainable Energy Investment Programme (Smart Fund II).

Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Energy and Business Development, Debra Dowridge, underscored the importance of Smart Fund II, which aims to increase the uptake of renewable energy and energy efficient technologies through a targeted approach.

Speaking at a press conference today at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, Ms. Dowridge said that Smart Fund II would assist in reducing Barbados’ high dependence on fossil fuels and aid in improving the competitiveness of the economy.

Explaining how the Fund functions, the Deputy Permanent Secretary continued: “Provision has been made for businesses to access low-cost financing at an interest rate of 3.75 per cent over a 10-year period. Applicants will also have access to the expertise of several Smart Fund partners to assist them through the entire process.

“The partners can also provide eligible businesses with technical assistance by performing energy audits or feasibility studies, as well as assisting with the implementation of renewable energy and energy efficient projects.”

Ms. Dowridge noted that electricity cost was a major concern and any energy savings that could result in a lower electricity bill would ultimately promote a more competitive cost structure for small and micro enterprises, as well as make a huge difference to their bottom line.

“By tapping into resources and financing options from the Energy Smart Fund, business owners can save significant money and energy, increase profits, promote their businesses, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“Dollars saved through energy efficiency and renewable energy interventions can directly improve a business’ viability and enable it to become more competitive in today’s market. Energy efficiency, coupled with alternative energy solutions will augur well for businesses, consumers and the entire country,” she surmised.

The Deputy Permanent Secretary said Fund Access was on board with Smart Fund II to ensure that small and micro businesses such as hair salons, barber shops, minimarts and variety shops had equal access to benefit from the Fund.

She added that this financing could now be used for businesses to change out their existing internal combustion engine fleets in favour of a more sustainable electric vehicle fleet.

She stated that all types of businesses were eligible to apply to the Energy Smart Fund, but the focus would be given to ensuring that the tourism sector and SMEs could operate in the renewable and energy efficient space. 

“Consequently, small businesses can access funding up to US$75,000 from Fund Access and up to US$1 million from the Enterprise Growth Fund Limited for investment loans,” Ms. Dowridge disclosed.

The technologies which can be accessed through the Fund include energy efficient lighting such as LEDS; occupancy sensors; inverter air conditioning; efficient appliances and equipment; power monitors; energy management systems, and electric mobility projects including electric vehicles, buses and bicycles. 

With regard to renewable energy, the Energy Smart Fund is encouraging uptake of technologies such as solar photovoltaics, solar water heaters, and small wind systems.            

To begin the application process for Smart Fund II, businesses may fill out the contact form by clicking here.


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