In 2019, electricity rates were pegged at the highest in years. And, one of the main complaints from the bill-paying public is that their bills showed that - especially during the long, hot drought.
And that's part of the reason, one poultry producer has taken energy costs into their own hands.
Quality Poultry Products has staked out with a plan to not only provide their own energy but to hopefully feed some of it back into the community grid.
We learned more about the company's efforts to reduce its carbon footprint and cue power costs.
A Sunday drive through Spanish lookout with its picturesque rural setting can almost transport you back through time. But you may be surprised by Spanish lookout's newest modern marvel that's sitting just above your eye line. That's because Quality Poultry has just upgraded its main processing plant with 1000 Solar panels. General Manager, Raymond Barkman explained Quality Poultry's push to minimize its carbon footprint.
Raymond Barkman - General Manager "We're really excited about this project, our mission statement says, we have always been we want to be environmentally sound and we want to contribute to the environment as much as we can so this is part of it. What we did is we went on a serious solar project, this has been a few years in the making we've been talking to people and so forth and it's you know a very decent sized project so it's been in talks for a while and then finally we decided that it was time to, you know hopefully make an impact in the carbon footprint and you know, make this world a bit of a cleaner place. Therefore we came out with dis da fu we environment and then we started with a solar project. These days you hear that world a lot about the environment and all that stuff so I just think it's everyone's responsibility to do something to contribute to hopefully make it a little easier for our kids coming."
And while Barkman was sceptical about the benefits of solar at first, he now sees the value added benefits:
Raymond Barkman "Now this is a grid-tie system this is not batteries where this system, where this became a feasible thing was if you leave out the batteries and you can feed it into the grid then this is where it becomes so much more sustainable so we're not dealing with any batteries just a grid-tie system so that's where it started making cents and dollars."
And Belize's sunny climate is ideal to harness solar power.
Raymond Barkman "The sun is our friend pretty much throughout the whole year we don't have to worry about snow or anything like that so we get solar all year round and what's surprising is that even when it's cloudy there are still rays that come through so even that still works so Belize is just an excellent country for solar because of the sun."
And in the highly competitive poultry industry, Quality hopes that the savings it realizes here can give it a competitive advantage:
Raymond Barkman "Obviously we have competition, so the country is saturated with chicken there are not really many big things we can do the increase the sales but what we can do is become more efficient each and every day and month and year."
Quality Poultry would sell power into the grid run by the Spanish Lookout Community which is "Farmer's Light Plant."