The Energy Smart Fund in the Division of Energy has approved BDS$10.2 million in low interest loans to businesses for the implementation of renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.
These projects include photovoltaic systems, energy efficient lighting, air conditioning and refrigeration.
News of this came from Project Manager of the Fund, Keisha Reid, today at the launch of a public awareness and education campaign, Smart Energy Barbados ??? Live Smart. The campaign aims to encourage Barbadians to embrace energy conservation and energy efficiency.
Ms. Reid told the audience that to date, a cumulative total of 600 kilowatts of photovoltaics had been installed and the businesses involved were seeing significant energy savings from their investments.
The Fund, which is administered by Enterprise Growth Fund Limited, has also issued $400,000 in technical assistance to support energy audits for small and medium-sized businesses, she revealed.
The Project Manager also disclosed that under the Pilot Consumer Finance Facility, a partnership between the Division of Energy, Massy Stores and Unicomer (Courts) Barbados Limited, more than 4,000 homes to date had benefited from rebates of up to 20 per cent offered on energy efficient appliances and solar water heaters.
Additionally, 5,000 Barbadians had received free LED lights under the first phase of the Energy Efficient Lighting Distribution Facility, an initiative launched in March in conjunction with Caribbean LED Lighting. The second phase of this initiative begins October 1.
Ms. Reid said that combined, these initiatives were projected to save in excess of one million kilowatt hours (kwh) of energy per year, which exceeded the prescribed target of 500,000 kwh which was set for the Fund.
She said that the new public awareness campaign would utilise both traditional and social media to spread its messages and a new website, www.SmartEnergyBarbados.com, would be launched next week.
The website, she said, would be interactive, with information including energy conservation tips; a virtual smart home outfitted with energy efficient and renewable energy technologies; online calculators and tools for businesses and educational games for young people.