Sat | Jul 21, 2018

Wolmer's Girls saving millions - School reaps big rewards from energy-conservation project

Published:Saturday | February 11, 2017 | 12:00 AM
From left: Dr Andrew Wheatley, minister of science, energy and technology; Lincoln McIntyre, chairman of the board of governors of the Wolmer’s Trust High School for Girls; and Dr Peter Ruddock, manager, Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Department at the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica, discuss energy matters yesterday.

Between January and December 2016, the Wolmer's Trust High School for Girls has seen its energy consumption cut by 63,300 kWh, which has resulted in the institution saving approximately J$2.5 million due to two major energy-intervention projects implemented by the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ) to the tune of $7 million.

The projects are in keeping with a $62 million initiative headed by the PCJ, which will save the Government approximately J$16 million annually.

PCJ installed a J$3 million 10kW solar photovoltaic (PV) system and carried out a $4 million light-emitting diode lighting upgrade project at the school between 2015 and 2016.

Speaking at the official handing over ceremony of the projects at the school grounds on Marescaux Road, Kingston, yesterday, Minister of Science, Energy and Technology Andrew Wheatley told The Gleaner that the monetary benefits were almost instant.

He said: "The close to $3 million savings Wolmer's had last year is the same cost of the installed PV system. So within a year, we've had returns, while the system has a lifespan of 25 years. Right now, the project is being rolled out in 15 schools as we want our students to appreciate the concept of energy efficiency and conservation."

He added: "While we educate our young to employ energy-efficient techniques, we want to ensure that every programme we roll out is sustainable by reducing the energy component."


Project a lifesaver


With the escalating utility bill battling the school's budget, Principal Colleen Montague described the project as a lifesaver.

"The point at which we were approached, we were elated because it put a significant ease on our expenses. The team from PCJ really worked with the school and we're now saving millions annually, and I just hope that all schools will get a chance to benefit from this initiative," she said.

PCJ collaborated with the Ministry of Education to select the schools to benefit, and priority was assigned based on assessments of the level of energy consumption of the schools as well as the viability of solar solutions.