Have you ever given any thought to how you could become a true Barbadian hero? One who could achieve a measure of happiness and fulfilment, help reduce the country’s burgeoning oil-import and food-import bills while attaining a measure of financial independence?
Let me introduce you to a real “pride and industry” person who we will call Keith because I do not have permission to use his name. Keith has not received a bill from the Barbados Light & Power Company for more than two years because he is what we refer to in the renewable energy world as “off the grid”. He has an arrangement with the man in the sun to supply him with upwards of 220 watts of energy, which meets all of his residential needs for electricity. So how much did he invest to achieve this? Surely he must have a white collar job earning well over $5 000 a month, perhaps a trendy car and a few other items familiar with Bajan consumerism.
Actually, Keith could be lost in the crowd, a seemingly simple individual whose day job is that of a receptionist and means of transportation is the ZR van or Government bus. But he has used a few things to his advantage.
Knowledge, entrepreneurship and a vision that if the monopoly power company gets a rate increase in 2014 or food prices continue to rise, he will not have to worry about the Fair Trading Commission and any ruling because a monthly electricity bill does not exist and has not existed for a while.
In fact, he could easily forget what one looks like.
Having recently expanded his energy environment with new equipment, he has started to venture into aquaponics with the intention of eating what he grows and selling his excess produce to become even more self sufficient.
His model and one I have recommended to people calling me and communicating via Facebook or instant messaging is simple: start small, network, do your research and implement, rather than engage in talk, talk and more talk.
Avoid the salesmen who will steer you into further debt, get the knowledge to avoid investing in the wrong equipment, finding out that your system has failed because of the wrong investment or there is stranded investment.
My research suggests that even in these times of recession the economic argument of reduced demand and supply does not apply.
In other words, despite a recession Barbados’ oil and food imports continue to rise and might well continue to contribute to our economic decline.
Barbadians, either businesspeople of whatever scale, investors of whatever size and from whatever segment of the economy, need to not simply consider getting off the grid but doing it now before they have less money to invest and the situation worsens.
We could have a bright future as Keith is anticipating, even if we don’t have deep pockets.
The time to invest in renewable energy is today, right this minute, but wisely. Do not wait on others to chart your future for you.