As a small open economy, Barbados is susceptible to fluctuations in international markets. Our dependence on imported energy, especially oil, creates worrisome external vulnerabilities. Oil imports have accounted for over 20% of total imports of goods over the past five years, making the economy sensitive to international price commodity shocks. Energy conservation and energy from renewable sources are pivotal to energy independence in Barbados.
The Government of Barbados, through the Ministry of Energy and Business has re-capitalized the Energy Smart Fund with the sum of US$13.1 million, which is made up of US$6.7 million loan financing from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), and US$6.4 million grant resources from the European Union through a second phase of the Sustainable Energy Investment Programme (Smart Fund II). These resources provide financial and technical support to renewable energy (RE) and energy efficiency (EE) for eligible businesses.
This Programme builds upon the successes and lessons learnt from the first phase of the Sustainable Energy Investment Programme (Smart Fund I). The general objective of the Programme is to further reduce Barbados’ dependency on imported fossil fuels through the increased use of renewable energy (RE) and energy efficiency (EE) technologies.
Specifically, the Programme will engage a three-pronged approach targeted at residential and private and public sectors enterprises that encourages the use of alternative sources of renewable energy; promotes energy conservation, reduces the oil import bill and preserves the environment.
Grant and loan options
The Energy Smart Fund is being implemented in partnership with the Enterprise Growth Fund Limited (EGFL) and the Barbados Agency for Micro-Enterprise Development Ltd. (Fund Access). These Fund Managers will act as disbursement agencies, where Fund Access will focus on facilitating loans up to BBD $150,000 to Small and Micro business (entrepreneurs), while EGFL will finance projects up to BBD $2,000,000.
The Energy Smart Fund provides subsidized loans to finance the implementation of EE and RE projects. This can include projects like:
- Energy efficiency and conservation projects. For example, efficient lights and appliances, occupancy sensors or power monitors.
- Distributed scale renewable energy projects, such as installing solar water heaters, solar PV systems or small wind systems.
- Working capital projects for RE and EE producers.
- Electric mobility projects, including electric vehicles, electric bikes and golf carts and the required charging units.
Businesses also can apply for technical assistance grants to finance pre-feasibility studies including energy audits and RE designed that support preparations for sustainable energy projects. The audits and studies can help companies to identify their energy consumption patterns, detail the installation, operation and maintenance cost of energy efficiency measures, and define the savings expected to achieve those measures.
Grants are also available for small and micro businesses to implement EE and RE pilot projects to encourage these businesses to experience first-hand what benefits can be obtained from clean energy interventions. The pilot projects can include:
- EE lighting retrofit projects to replace incandescent/other less-efficient bulbs with LEDs and/or the installation of occupancy sensors.
- EE A/C retrofit projects that replace split systems with inverter technology.
- Energy conservation projects to install power monitors.
- Distributed scale renewable energy projects, including small solar photovoltaic (PV) systems no larger than 24 kW (AC) and/or solar water heater systems.
- Electric mobility projects including electric bicycles, motorcycles, and golf carts.
All businesses operating in Barbados, regardless of the size of annual sales or revenues, are eligible to apply for the Energy Smart Fund.
To begin the application process, businesses can fill out the contact form on the website http://www.smartenergybarbados.com/energy-division/financing/
The Ministry will be conducting a series of webinars to help educate businesses on the various aspects of the Fund. The first webinar will be held on Thursday, May 26, 2022, from 10:00 AM Eastern Time. Interested people can register for that webinar at: