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Land and energy initiative for new homeowners

Land and energy initiative for new homeowners
Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley. (Picture by Sandy Pitt)

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A new initiative, which will allow potential homeowners to utilise their roofs to earn for them, is on the cards.

Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley outlined this initiative on Wednesday, as she addressed the joint launch of the Caribbean Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency’s (CCREEE) Project Preparation Facility and the Credit Risk Abatement Facility, which is an initiative of the CARICOM Development Fund.

Mottley told her audience: “We have just agreed to the establishment of a company called HOPE Inc. and HOPE Inc. will essentially undertake housing…. So put simply, those potential owners, who are prepared to enter a contract to assign the benefits of their roof for energy production through solar photovoltaic panels, will then be able to have access to the land on which their house will be built, without having to pay for the land.

It works out with a modest rate of return for the developer of the housing programmes. But, what it does is that it allows persons who might otherwise have difficulty in being able to access a mortgage and to afford the price of a house because of where they are in terms of their earning power, that they would now be able to do so.”

The Prime Minister noted that Cabinet made a number of key decisions recently with regard to the renewable energy sector. She said Cabinet had also agreed that 25 per cent of the renewable energy market had to be reserved for some areas that were critical to national development, but for which funding was difficult. She identified those areas as the water sector, transport and the third sector.

She stated that there was a need for new pipes as a high percentage of water was leaking through because of burst mains.

“The Government of Barbados has therefore agreed that 15 per cent of the renewable energy market will be reserved for the Barbados Water Authority, to act either singularly or collaboratively with whom they so wish in a joint venture, in order to be able to ensure that there is a solid revenue stream for the Barbados Water Authority,” she explained.

Mottley added that Government would purchase electric and hybrid vehicles going forward, as she stressed the importance of this decision. She said Barbados had imported just over seven per cent of its GDP, or about $728 million in fossil fuels last year.

Describing the Project Preparation Facility (PPF) and the Credit Risk Abatement Facility (CRAF) as necessary, she stated there was a need for both of them.

CRAF seeks to provide an incentive for financial institutions to offer additional lending to SMEs for renewable energy/energy efficiency in CARICOM. The CCREEE Project Preparation Facility aims to bridge the gap between uncertain projects and practical investments via sustainable energy project development support to the public and private sector in CARICOM member states. (BGIS)