Sunday, October 16, 2011

Solar energy to cut bills

A LOCALLY-BASED Caribbean company is offering to feed electricity into the national grid, almost immediately lowering household electricity bills, and saving Barbados millions of dollars in the long term. Solaris Global Energy Ltd, which has been on the solar water heating market for the last three decades, yesterday offered its plan to Government at the Caribbean Renewable Energy Forum (CREF) at Hilton Barbados, with general manager David Rowe suggesting the installation of photovoltaic (PV) solar systems on 20 000 homes. “The plan is that over ten years, 20 000 house owners will provide PV solar electricity to the Barbados Light & Power grid through PV systems installed on their roofs [by Solaris],” said Rowe, adding that the project, dubbed Sun Stream, would have to be on roofs where the PV panels faced the south or west and were free of shade. According to Rowe, while all of the solar power feeds into each house, thereby satisfying the energy needs of each household, energy would be simultaneously feeding into the national grid. As a result, an average homeowner using 13 kilowatts per hour with an average BL&P bill of $280 per month would automatically get a new BL&P bill of $246.40 – about 12 per cent less. And, Rowe added, if a homeowner defaulted on payment, the energy supplied to the house could be suspended while, at the same time, that energy would still be feeding into the grid. “This is a win-win. If I can get the firms on board to help me with the funding for it, or if a bank – each system averages between $20 000 and $40 000 – is going to lend $30 000, they’re going to ask how can they be sure they will be repaid.

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