What started as a make-shift rooftop water heater (SWH) made from a used oil drum in the 1970s evolved into a thriving and extensive solar water heating industry in Barbados. James Husbands, Managing Director of Solar Dynamics Limited, has championed the technology for decades and is a highly recognized industry leader in Barbados and across the region. With at least 55,000 rooftop installations islandwide, Barbados has perhaps the highest rate of SWH installations across the Caribbean region. No longer being solely dependent on oil, gas or electricity for water heating purposes, it is estimated that SWH technology saves consumers between US$11.5 and 16 million per year.
Building on the lessons and progress made by the local solar water heater technology experience, Barbados has similarly witnessed the introduction and uptake of solar photovoltaic (PV) technology to generate power at the household, commercial and industrial levels. PV panels can be spotted on houses, businesses and government offices across the island, and large-scale, ground-sited installations can be seen in locations like Woodbourne, St. Philip and Trents, St. Lucy. Homeowners can access credit lines and tax incentives to invest in solar PV technology.
Similar greening initiatives are also ongoing in our transport sector. Private hybrid and electric vehicles are on our roads, and available from several local car dealerships. The Government of Barbados has also introduced electric buses into its public transport fleet, and plans to continue a transition towards a 100% electric or alternatively-fuelled vehicles in the passenger fleet by 2030.