SJPI Principal, Ian Drakes, giving officials from the IDB and the Ministry of Energy, Small Business and Entrepreneurship an update on the work being done in the Institute’s Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Laboratory. (C. Pitt/BGIS)

Last Monday, Country Representative of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Viviana Alva Hart showcased the ongoing renewable energy and energy efficiency initiatives at the Samuel Jackman Prescod Institute of Technology (SJPI) to the IDB’s Vice President for Countries, Richard Martinez, and the Senior Management of the IDB based in Washington DC.

The team, along with officers in the Ministry of Energy, Small Business and Entrepreneurship, toured the photovoltaic installation at the pre-fabricated classroom village, the electric vehicle classroom and viewed the Public Sector Smart Energy Programme (PSSEP) vehicle display. The projects were funded by the IDB through Government’s PSSEP.

Acting Programme Manager in the Project Execution Unit in the Ministry, Sherry Waithe explained: “There are three components of the Programme. Component one focuses on the retrofit of 15 Government buildings with solar photo-voltaic systems, outfitting government buildings with energy efficient technologies such as air condition units, motion sensors and lights, as well as the retrofitting of over 24,000 public street lights.”

Ms. Waithe added: “Component two specifically looked at piloting electric vehicles in the public sector and the viability of ocean energy. [While] Component three focuses on capacity building to enhance human resources to manage the various energy efficiency programmes executed by Government.”

At the solar classroom village, the SJPI’s Systems Database Manager, Grantley Robinson, said the IDB and the European Union funded a 109 kilowatt peak system consisting of 336 solar panels that would generate 200 kilowatt hours of electricity annually and an estimated BBD $85,000 in revenue per year.

He added: “Here at the SJPI, we are extremely proud to be associated with this very innovative and futuristic project and it is an investment that you would have made in us.” 

Just a short distance away, Principal, Ian Drakes, led the party to the Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Laboratory and gave an update on the work done there. 

He disclosed that the Institute provided a customised, practical and theoretical training programme for both public and private entities on electric vehicles.

Mr. Drakes said that he looked forward to partnering with more local dealers to ensure there was a cadre of trained professionals in this area as the number of electric vehicles increased on island. 

The SJPI head also thanked the IDB and the Ministry of Energy, Small Business and Entrepreneurship for the interventions received thus far and noted the organisations looked forward to receiving more assistance from the development agency. 

“We are happy to be part of the energy transition as a technical and vocational institute and we look forward to some more exciting times as a family. You have seen where we have come from and where we are going and I want to thank you all for showing interest in us and in Barbados,” he underlined.

The SJPI was the first government building designated as an Energy Champion in a ceremony held in May.

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