Barbados is one of the Caribbean’s leading tourist destinations and is one of the most developed islands in the region, despite it actually being classed as an Atlantic Island, with an HDI number of 0.825. In 2011 Barbados ranked 2nd in the Americas (16th globally) on Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index, behind Canada. Barbados is outside of the principal Atlantic hurricane belt. The economy remained heavily dependent on sugar, rum, and molasses production through most of the 20th century. In the 1990s, tourism and manufacturing surpassed the sugar industry in economic importance.


The Utility Regulation Department currently oversees two utility companies – the Barbados Light& Power Company Ltd. (electricity) and Cable & Wireless (Barbados) Ltd. (telecommunications).

The Fair Trading Commission established on January 2, 2001 is the independent regulator of the supply and distribution of electricity as well as domestic and international telecommunications services and natural gas. The FCT is involved in the regulation, proposal and planning of alternative energy projects. 

In Barbados, it is noticeable the number of experiments with renewable energy that the state controlled utility has made thus far. While few of these projects have come to fruition in a major way (except for solar water heaters), the tendency highlights utility, and by extension, government interest in energy security and power sector functionality. However this intention is not supported by significant legislative and comprehensive policy backing. This may be part of the reason that, aside from Solar Water Heating technology, it has actually been difficult to integrate other technologies into the market. It would seem that while the necessary components are present, there needs to be a more structured plan in the near and long term future and greater consistency in the delivering of incentives such as the tax credit. Strides are indeed being made, but a more concrete structure and outlined plan of action and implementation would ensure that the more useful avenues for energy mix expansion are explored.

The 1907 Electricity Supply Act and the 1951 Public Utilities Act of 1951 are to date the only major pieces of legislation that govern the power sector, making it difficult for IPPs (Independent Power Providers) to potentially market themselves to the utility company.


Initiative for the Transformation and Strengthening of the Solar Water Heating Market
Caribbean Sustainable Energy Program
Caribbean-GTZ Renewable Energy Program
Caribbean-NREL Cooperation