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Should Gov’t buy solar water heaters & LED lights for residents?

Minister Vanterpool makes bold suggestion to reduce Territory’s dependency on fossil fuel, save consumers $$$
Government is proposing a programme where they will purchase solar water heaters and LED lights for residents which they will repay for in a phased period of time as part of Government's effort to help the Territory reduce its dependency on fossil fuel.
 Minister for Communications and Works Hon. Mark Vanterpool said he would like to be remembered as the Minister to make it happen
Minister for Communications and Works Hon. Mark Vanterpool said he would like to be remembered as the Minister to make it happen
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – As the demand for energy continues to rise and in an effort to reduce the Territory’s dependency on fossil fuel, Minister for Communications and Works Hon. Mark Vanterpool is proposing that government purchase solar water heaters and LED lights for residents which they will repay for over a period of time.

Hon. Vanterpool, who was at the time speaking at a community meeting at the Cane Garden Bay Community Centre on May 24, 2012, said he would like to be the Minister to make it happen as it is not rocket science to get done.

According to the Minister with responsibility for the BVI Electricity Corporation (BVIEC), the demand for energy by residents continues to increase and in their latest Phase of energy increase called Phase 5, they are asking for “somewhere between $30 to $50 million” to be able to meet the energy demand in the VI.

While proposing simple solutions such as turning off lights when not in use among other things, Minister Vanterpool said Government wants to put a programme where he may consider taking some $10 million from the money to be given to the BVIEC and invest in the programme to pay for residents to stop using electric water heaters and switch over to solar water heaters and change all household lights to LED lights, as efforts to save energy.

Explaining that cost will be a factor in getting such a project off the ground such as the amount of money required by residents to execute the programme, Hon. Vanterpool said government will pay for the changes and residents will repay through their electric bill over a two and a half year period. He said they will still see reduction in their electric bill during the repayment period and greater reductions after they would have paid off and inherit the real savings from the changes.

“… the cost for a house may be $2000 to switch to solar water heater and LED lights … rather than me approving $30 million for the electricity corporation I may consider approving 10, so we will not put 16 mega watts of power, maybe three or four this year… and we can reduce consumption by a third. We have tested and realised that if every person in the BVI, with the 13,000 homes that we have, switch to solar water heaters and energy lights, we can reduce the demand on fossil fuels by the Electricity Corporation by close to a third."

The method for repayment, according to Vanterpool, will be reflected in the residents’ electric bills for a period of time.

“ … if your bill is $300 now, let’s say, we estimated that if you take the lights out and put in energy lights and a solar water heater, your bill would drop to about $180 from 300. And we have tested it … it is proven, its theory but it is also proven here in the BVI. So if I drop your bill you would be happy right? Wouldn’t you? All am saying is I will take the $120 that I drop the bill by for two and a half years, I will let you pay, rather than paying $300, pay $280 … per month and $100 from that will go towards paying that $2000. After two and a half years, you now own your water heaters, own your energy lights and I will also pay for two changes of energy lights… it is said to last for three years. So at the end of two years, your bill will now be $180,” Hon. Vanterpool gave an example of how the proposed programme could work.

He also said the relevant legislation will also be amended to allow residents to use solar power.

“This is not rocket science you know, this is just common sense. I am going to be the Minister who is going to be remembered for making this happen, I am not backing down, this has got to happen in the BVI, it’s just pure commonsense.”

Hon. Vanterpool is encouraging the public to give thought to the programme which he plans to bring forward for public discussion.

10 Responses to “Should Gov’t buy solar water heaters & LED lights for residents?”

  • same old story (29/05/2012, 08:16) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    NDP RUNNING A WELFARE STATE IT SEEMS LIKE!
  • critic (29/05/2012, 08:23) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    is ndp trying to run a welfare state?
  • polo (29/05/2012, 09:33) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Not a bad idea but should government be doing this?
  • Jinx (29/05/2012, 10:57) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    This is a good idea. We can save more money on this island if we use our natural resources!
  • he again (29/05/2012, 12:12) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    donald again???
  • Confucius (29/05/2012, 14:07) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Absolutely NOT! I neither want or need our government to do my shopping for me. I have already designed our solar requirements, sourced the products I want and am simply waiting for government to do the right thing and pass legislation that allows all private individuals and businesses to use alternative energy sources. If they do go ahead with this programme, it should be on an "opt in" basis and not forced down our throats. The solar energy business is a huge market waiting to be tapped. Let BUSINESS people like Clarence Thomas (and others) handle the retail sales and get government back on track doing what they should be doing ~ rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure! Government is NOT in the retail business any more than it is in the hotel/resort industry! Stay out of it!!! Just pass the legislation and let things carry on from there.
  • Albion (29/05/2012, 14:18) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    I am in favour of putting money into "green solutions" rather than simply increasing BVIEC capacity, but I am not sure if this is the best use of the money. Targetted subsidies rather than "gifts" to a select few would go a lot further. Better yet, change the customs duties rates to make LED bulbs and solar heaters exempt (and impose punitive duties on electric water heaters and regular light bulbs). That will reduce strain on the grid.
  • boss man (29/05/2012, 17:03) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    every body going green and still voted red jah man
  • fmp (30/05/2012, 07:06) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Why cant us home owners pay to install our own system? Why does Government have to do it and then charge us over a period of time? Nonsense!
  • Crank Shaft (30/05/2012, 16:28) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Give an incentive to folks who can prove that they've taken steps to lower their pull on the grid, simple. Government dont need to buy a damn thing, let the store owners figure out what to bring etc. Also, lower the duties on energy saving items, or even put it to zero like for computers, then you will see savings. Don't touch my light bill, let me buy what I need and save myself, Government will just make a muck with this and I'm sure another committee and board will need to be appointed as well, no time to waste.


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