Seizing the Sunshine Barbados' Thriving Solar Water Heating Industry (Inside Stories on Climate Compatible Development)

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September 2012
Will Bugler

For the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) of the Caribbean, renewable energy technologies (RETs) will become increasingly important in the face of high fossil fuel costs. Many countries now recognise the need to move towards low-carbon, climate-resilient economies, as set out in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) implementation plan for climate change-resilient development. Many nations rely heavily on imported fossil fuels, spending an ever-larger proportion of their GDP on energy imports. Along with air conditioning, refrigeration and transportation, water heating is one of the most energy-intensive domestic activities, using roughly 2 megawatt-hours (MWh) of energy per household per year. Fortunately, the islands have access to one source of energy that is not in short supply, receiving over 3,000 hours of sunshine in a year. Barbados has capitalised on this, replacing gas and electric water heaters with solar water heaters (SWHs) at both domestic and commercial sites.

Energy, Water