Solar PV in Barbados


Since the 1970s solar thermal systems have been used extensively in Barbados to heat water. Currently there are 50,000 installations [1] or roughly 50% of all households. As a result, Barbadians are aware of solar energy usage and benefits. Over the past few years, solar electricity systems have decreased dramatically in cost and more systems have begun to be installed. In 2001, the installed capacity of solar PV in Barbados was 37 kW [2]. Below is a list of the largest of these systems at that time:

  • 1.1 kW at the University of the West Indies (UWI) for solar cooling
  • 17.3 kW at Harrison’s Cave for powering the lights
  • 3 kW at Combermere School for operating a computer laboratory
  • 2 kW at a demonstration plant installed on a 20MW BL&P gas turbine generating station at Grantley Adams airport
  • 2 kW at Government Headquarters to operate lights and provide emergency power
  • 11.1 kW at the Skeete’s Bay fishing complex powering a one-tonne-per-day solar ice maker for the fishermen and fisherwomen
  • A 300W portable PV system was used to demonstrate the flexibility and versatility of the technology to members of the public
Solar PV system at Harrison's Cave, St. Thomas, Barbados

Solar PV system at Harrison’s Cave, St. Thomas, Barbados
Photo credit: www.terryally.com

Skeete's Bay Fishing Complex, St. John, Barbados

Solar system at Skeete’s Bay Fishing Complex, St. John, Barbados
Photo credit: www.terryally.com

 

Fast forward to the present and as of August 2013, the installed solar PV capacity has jumped by almost 4500% to 1700kW [3]! This is as a result of the Renewable Energy Rider program. In addition, the Government of Barbados has shown that it is fully committed to the idea of renewable energy and solar PV, thereby preparing the country for even more substantial growth in this sector.

Similar to the ubiquitous solar water heater on Barbadian rooftops, solar panels are seen more and more frequently across the island. Here are a few examples:

Barbadian bus stop with solar panel

Barbadian bus stop lighting powered by solar PV

Solar House in Queen's Park, Barbados

Residential solar system
Photo credit: www.Barbados.org

Solar carport in St. Michael, Barbados

Solar carport in St. Michael, Barbados

Commercial solar project in St. Michael, Barbados

Commercial solar project in St. Michael, Barbados

Solar PV on Sky Mall

Solar PV on Sky Mall
Photo credit: Andre Williams www.andrewilliamsphotography.net

Commercial solar PV in Barbados

Commercial solar PV in Barbados
Photo credit: Andrew Williams www.andrewilliamsphotography.net

On a MW basis, commercial solar projects in Barbados account for the majority of installed capacity. Here is an impressive drone-filmed video from Williams Solar showcasing some of their solar project portfolio. Barbados has become home to an increasing number of these high quality commercial installations from a variety of installation companies.

 

 

July 2015 Update:

The installed solar PV capacity in Barbados is over 9MW.

February 2015 Update:

The installed solar PV capacity in Barbados is now over 7MW.

November 2014 Update:

The installed solar PV capacity in Barbados passes 6MW.

April 2014 Update:

The installed solar PV capacity in Barbados is now just under 4MW.

January 2014 Update:

Over 400 businesses and homeowners have installed solar PV systems bringing the installed solar PV capacity to 2.8MW. Some of the businesses that have installed a solar PV system to reduce their operating costs are: Armstrong Agencies, Bico, Banks Breweries, and 12 businesses in the Williams Industries group of companies.

Some of these systems have online monitoring which have been made publicly available by their owners. You can view projects utilizing SMA inverters by visiting:

http://www.sunnyportal.com/Templates/PublicPagesPlantList.aspx

Select Barbados from the Country drop down list and click search.

Active solar PV sites in Barbados

Some of the active solar PV sites in Barbados

 

 

References

[1] Climate & Development Knowledge Network “Seizing the sunshine – Barbados’ thriving solar water heater industry”
http://cdkn.org/resource/cdkn-inside-story-seizing-the-sunshine-barbados-thriving-solar-water-heater-industry/

[2] Barbados Renewable Energy Scenario Current Status and Projections to 2010 – Professor Oliver Headley
http://www.terryally.com/library/oheadleyrenewable.html

[3] Fair Trading Commission – Renewable Energy Rider Decision
http://www.ftc.gov.bb/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=262&Itemid=1