Great benefit available to businesses from clean alternative sources of energy
November 28, 2014
Great benefit available to businesses from clean alternative sources of energy

The use of clean alternative sources of energy is something that can be of great benefit to local businesses.

Executive director of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Chamber of Industry and Commerce (SVGCIC) Anthony Regisford made this point on Thursday, November 20, during an energy symposium, which was held at the Methodist Church Hall in Kingstown.{{more}}

Speaking to a gathering of business people at the symposium, which was held as part of Caricom Energy Week, Regisford said that when he was first introduced to Solar Photo Voltaic (Solar PV) technology over 25 years ago, the technology was extremely expensive, but that has changed and as a result, can help businesses and individuals save money on their energy bill.

He noted also that the cost of these systems keeps declining.

Regisford added that 25 years ago, Solar PV was an emerging technology. Now, “fast forward 25 years and look at the difference that the technology can make to the business sector and our lives.”

He stressed that our first domestic and commercial use of solar energy was for heating water, “before, water heaters were invariably electrical, which consumed a lot of energy; now almost everyone with water heaters uses solar.”

The Chamber head said that energy efficiency and cheaper alternative sources of energy are not the same, but are related and that businesses must pay close attention to energy efficiency, even before making the leap to a Solar PV system.

“We must employ the use of LED lighting and energy efficient appliances, in addition to ensuring that air conditioned spaces are properly insulated,” said Regisford, while noting that in terms of businesses being competitive, energy cost is critical.

“In Trinidad, the cost per kilowatt per hour is six times less than what it is in St Vincent. Unlike Trinidad, we do not produce oil, so if our businesses are to be competitive, then finding cheaper energy sources is imperative. This has become a cliché, but nonetheless remains a very important point,” said Regisford, who is of the opinion that in addition to the cost benefit of Solar PV, the idea of using clean energy is a responsible social thing to do.

“Managing our carbon footprint makes the right kind of statement to the rest of the world and will have a positive impact on tourism,” Regisford pointed out.

He urged the business community to pay close attention to the developments in clean alternative energy sources and to also focus on making their business operations energy efficient.

The symposium also heard from Fidel Neverson, who runs a Solar PV business. Neverson spoke about the opportunities, benefits and cost of solar energy while stressing that the system, once installed, eventually pays for itself over a period of time, while helping persons save on their energy bill.

Meanwhile, energy consultant Recardo ‘Ricky’ Adams said the symposium was held as a follow-up event of Caricom, Energy Week 2014, the theme of which was: “Achieving climate and economic resilience through sustainable development.”

He revealed that the symposium was put on by the Energy Unit, with support from Caricom and the German government, in collaboration with the SVGCIC.

Caricom Energy Week was launched at Vinlec’s Lowmans Power Plant on Monday, November 17.

The event on Thursday, November 20, which was dubbed “Green Business Day,” was also an energy expo, showcasing energy saving products that are sold locally by a number of companies.