This policy brief, published by Climate & Development Knowledge Network, provides an overview of the solar water heater (SWH) market in Barbados.
The installation of the first SDH’s dates back from the 1970’s when alternative solutions needed to be found following the oil crises and the resulting increase in oil and gas prices. With 3000 hours of sunshine per year, the alternative energy source was easily found. The SWH market has been growing ever since. In 1989, 2.800 SDH were installed and today around 50.000 both for domestic and commercial use. In 2001, in the Caribbean region, Barbados represented more than 60 % of the SWHs and 80% of manufacturing.
There were a few barriers to the development of the SWH industry. Banks didn’t want to grant loans to manufacturers, incentives programs had to be cut down due to economic restructuring and the upfront costs of SWH for consumers were quite high. Despite these negative aspects, the SWH industry was successful due to the pioneer role of manufacturers and their sales strategy, the various incentives measure implemented by the Government in the 70’s and 80’s and the acceptance of this new heating system by consumers.
The success story of Barbados could be extended to other countries in the region as they are also confronted with high fossils fuel import costs. It could also help develop other renewable energy technologies.
Date: September 2012
Author: Will Bugler
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