Starting in October, 13 Government buildings will be retrofitted with solar photovoltaic systems, which is expected to result in US$16 million in electricity savings.

Minister with responsibility for Energy, Senator Darcy Boyce, today signed an agreement with the company contracted to install the solar photovoltaic systems, Solar Watts Systems Inc., at Government Headquarters, Bay Street.

Also attending the signing ceremony were representatives of the Inter-American Development Bank and the European Union which have provided loan and grant funding respectively to the Public Sector Smart Energy Program, which includes the retrofitting project. The total budget for the renewable energy retrofit in public buildings is US$5.5 million.

Buildings to be retrofitted are the Ministry of Agriculture, Food, Fisheries and Water Resource Management, the National Housing Corporation, the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, the Frank Walcott Building, the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Conference Centre and the Grantley Adams International Airport.

Also on the schedule are the Forensic Sciences Centre, the Treasury Building, the Barbados Community College, the Ministry of Transport and Works, the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic and the Barbados Seaport (Shallow Draft and Engineering Facility).

Senator Boyce said that the Public Sector Smart Energy Program, which focuses on investment initiatives for renewable energy and energy efficiency in the public sector, includes a number of other components.

These are retrofitting public lights with energy efficient technologies; implementing an electric vehicles pilot project; and conducting studies in ocean energy. It also provides for capacity building, institutional strengthening, and public education and awareness for a sustainable approach to energy management.

The Frank Walcott Building is among those Government buildings to be retrofitted with solar photovoltaic systems as part of the Public Sector Smart Energy Program. (FP)

The Energy Minister further noted that similar projects were in the offing. He disclosed that the Barbados National Oil Company was currently having discussions with the Ministry of Education to work out a plan to install solar photovoltaic systems on the roofs of secondary schools to generate electricity.

The Barbados Investment and Development Corporation, he added, was also in discussions with a number of interested parties to convert the roofs of buildings in industrial estates into generators of electricity from solar photovoltaic systems.

Senator Boyce declared: “Our aim is to reduce the electricity bill in the public service by making as many of our buildings energy efficient as possible and by earning income from solar photovoltaics.

“Government will do its utmost to encourage others to adopt renewable energy and energy efficiency wherever feasible and, in doing so, will seek to use itself as an example for others.”

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