Kenyon College has a continuing project to work with technologies in schools. This project started with creating internet connected computer labs for schools and they soon discovered that the cost of electricity, which is high in Belize, was problematic for schools with very limited. Kenyon College began exploring solar solutions to augment available power, and thus reduce or eliminate the costs of electricity for the schools.
Most, if not all, schools in Belize have electricity, but installing solar panels with a grid tie will help lower the cost of electricity bills for schools. The “Grid tie” solution design converts solar energy directly to 120v AC, and adds it to the circuits being supplied from the grid. The system is designed to first use the energy created by the solar panels, and then supplement this with power from the grid as needed. Thus such a solution will lower the power usage, but still allow the use of electricity when there is no solar energy available.
In March 2017, two schools in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, got solar panel installations thanks the Kenyon College and the Belize Red Cross San Pedro Branch. These schools were Brighter Tomorrow Pre School and Ambergris Caye Elementary School. To date, Kenyon College has helped St. Andrew's Anglican School, Kings College, Toledo Christian Academy, San Antonio Primary School and Arenal RC School.
The price is $1,500USD per 1,000 watt hour setup of six panels. This includes the panels, wiring, mounting, inverters, and internet monitoring equipment. With the installation of these panels, Kenyon College, hopes to significantly impact the communities which they are helping by teaching children and residents about renewable energy.
James Skon, Doug Karl and Robert Alexander from Kenyon College were back in Belize on Friday, January 2018, conducting Solar Power Assessments at schools. Based on the information they collected, the solar crew will decide which schools are the best qualified to receive solar power.
The crew looked at two schools in Toledo, one in Stan Creek, four in Cayo, and two on Ambergris Caye. In addition to assessing New Horizons and San Pedro High School, they also checked on last year’s schools Ambergris Caye Elementary and Brighter Tomorrow. ACES ended up needing a new fuse and brighter tomorrow school was working well.
Much thanks goes out to Pepper Carpenter who helped facilitate the meeting with Principal Samuel Chi and Manager Ernesto Barahona at New Horizons Seventh Day Adventist School. To Principal Emil Vasquez at San Pedro High School, Steve Harp, Denise Ryan of ACES and Laurie Norton (Tacogirl). Thanks go to Carts Belize for donating a cart for the day to do assessments. And a very special thanks to Sarah Reza of Have Fun Stay Fit, Amanda Syme of Sunrise Realty and Pepper Carpenter made donations to help last year’s solar power happen.
Speaking to Principal Emil Vasquez of SPHS
Checking the solar panels at San Pedro High School
Checking the roof top at New Horizons School
Changing a fuse at ACES