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200 approved for 10kW renewable energy systems without licence

Article taken from the Barbados Today – October 19, 2022

Two months after the introduction of the Householder’s Right to Renewable Energy Policy which allows homeowners to install renewable energy systems of up to 10 kilowatts (kW) on their properties without a licence, some 200 approvals have been granted.

Minister of Energy and Business Development Kerrie Symmonds made the disclosure on Tuesday as he provided a wide-ranging update on the progress of Barbados’ push to become 100 per cent reliant on renewable sources of energy by 2030.

Addressing the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) renewable energy forum and expo at the Hilton Barbados Resort on Wednesday, he stressed the importance of ensuring that ordinary Barbadians are given a stake in the sector.

“Your next-door neighbour, the people you pass on the bus, those people have to be part of this process, too. So the Householder’s Right to Renewable Energy Policy was created and that is now operationalised,” said Symmonds.

Implemented in August, the policy allows householders to establish renewable energy systems up to 10 kilowatts (kW) on their properties and have them connected to the national grid, allowing them to sell their excess electricity to the utility company.

At the time of its introduction, Ministry of Energy officials said they were expecting about 50 000 residents to take up the offer over the next eight years.

Symmonds told the BCCI event: “I can tell you that I have done about 200 of those approvals already.”

He did not say how many of those were new installers or individuals increasing the size of existing systems.

However, he said: “The thinking behind it is that if you have a house and you occupy it, then between two kilowatts and ten kilowatts on that house can be installed as a right, and you are fast-tracked through the process.

“Being fast-tracked through the process matters because you are able then to get an approval and be off to the bank to get the financing. You are put ahead of the large-scale investor,” explained Symmonds.

“This is being done precisely because of the fact that we want to build an inclusive framework that allows for our people to have a stake in this process, however small the house may be. It also allows for them to earn something and their roof, therefore, becomes a monetised entity.”

Prior to the implementation of the policy, anyone seeking to install renewable energy systems above 5 kW had to make an application for a licence.

That is no longer required and the process, which is now done online, is approved once registration is completed and the individual indicates the roof area and the type and size of the renewable energy system to be installed.

Householders who already have a renewable energy system installed on their houses will also be allowed to increase the size of the system to a maximum of 10 kW without a licence.

It is estimated that only about 4 000 households and businesses have renewable energy systems installed and connected to the national grid.

During his presentation, President of the BCCI Anthony Branker said 2030 was fast approaching and the pace would need to be quickened if Barbados was to achieve its ambitious target of 100 per cent renewable energy.

“To get to 50 000, we need to add 46 000 or just over 6 000 every year. The recent relaxation of licensing requirements for systems up to 10 kW will help to speed up adoption but, in tandem with that change, we need to ensure that financing is easily and efficiently available for these small systems which can still cost around $20 000 to install,” he said.

“The 2030 vision is bold and ambitious in keeping with Barbados’ stance as a world leader in the discussion on climate change. It is a goal that the BCCI fully supports,” Branker added.

Wednesday’s forum brought together renewable energy sector operators and investors, finance companies and lawmakers to discuss the topic Barbados’ 2030 Renewable Energy Vision: Where are We? Several renewable energy applications, including solar photovoltaic systems and electric vehicles, were on display.

(MM)

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