It is being predicted that over half of Barbadian households will have solar electricity by 2050, and that the country would have a decentralised grid by that time.
These predictions were made by Head of the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Unit at the Ministry of Energy, William Hinds.?? He was taking part in a panel discussion on the topic: Green Business – Renewable Energy with Focus on Solar Energy, at the Barbados and Caribbean Day of FOROMIC 2012, which was held yesterday at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.
"I expect that by 2050 all new houses in Barbados will come with their own solar electric system, and that most of the new householders in 2050 will never use fossil fuels. I also expect that many countries in the world at that time would either have achieved 100 per cent renewable energy or would be moving in that direction. I expect that our grandchildren would not understand the term electricity bill," he told delegates.
Mr. Hinds added that he also anticipated that by that time Barbados would have a decentralised grid, and instead of fossil fuel generating companies, the country would have several renewable energy and fossil fuel companies all producing energy and feeding it into the grid.
"We are at the point of change. This is the era where we bring the new computers, we bring the cell phones, we bring the renewable energy," he stated.
He cautioned that the change would not be as a result of a Government policy or Government incentives, but because the country had reached that point where it was cheaper to produce solar electricity at home than to buy it from the electric grid.
In responding to questions from delegates, Mr. Hinds stated that the baseline was there and that the first step would be to change the law. This, he said, should be followed by citizens being encouraged to invest in renewable energy through various incentives.
He noted that in the future all new Government buildings would have solar electric systems, while several demonstration projects are expected to be executed throughout the country.
"There has to be the understanding that it makes sense, otherwise it would not work. Fifty per cent [of the population using solar electricity] can be achieved," he said.
But, he stressed, "now is the time," and warned that those who failed to act now and capitalise on the investment opportunities that come with renewable energy would live to regret their decisions.
"The question is where are you going to be? Are you going to be at the innovation level, or are you going to be at the start if you are building your house today? Are you going to be at the end where you wait until everyone else gets a solar system on their house and you get one finally, or are you going to be in the middle where you are going with the crowd? The decision is up to you where you are," he stressed.