Barbados is an island nation in the Caribbean. Before 1970 Barbados relied on oil imports for 95% of all its energy needs including space and water heating. As oil prices rose 300% in the 70’s, Barbados sought to diversify its energy mixture.
Water heating is energy intensive using 2 MWh per household annually. Barbados has large solar resources making solar water heaters (SWH) an attractive opportunity to reduce oil energy usage. The Barbados government worked with start-up companies, provided financial and regulatory support, and helped generate customer acceptance of SWH. As of 2009 Barbados has over 50,000 SWH installs averaging 2 out of every 5 households. Barbados accounts for 60% of all installed SWH systems in the Caribbean demonstrating the success of their programs. Other Caribbean nations with similar energy dependencies on oil and available solar resources have not been as successful. It is estimated that the Barbados SWH programs have saved consumers $137 million since 1970.
The government of Barbados has released best practices in each of its target areas that significantly impacted the adoption of SWH systems.
To support early pioneers and start-up companies the Barbados government:
Customer acceptance in other Caribbean countries has been challenging and was cited as a key indicator of success by the Barbados government.