Wed | Sep 26, 2018

Earth Today | Petersfield High gets clean energy support

Published:Thursday | June 7, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Petersfield High School students listen keenly to information about solar power stations and careers in energy.
Dub Poet Randy McLaren (right) delivers his signature energy conservation piece with a ninth grade student of Petersfield High School.

PETERSFIELD HIGH School in Westmoreland was recently the proud beneficiary of a donation of a 2.34kW solar photovoltaic (PV) system, which should enable them to effectively manage their energy bill.

The system was awarded to the institution by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through its Caribbean Clean Energy Programme (CARCEP).

The stand-alone system, which has the capability to produce 300kWh of electricity monthly, was officially handed over during a ceremony held on May 28.

The system contains solar modules, a mounting system, disconnect switches, charge controller, an automatic transfer switch, wiring, inverter and batteries at a total system value of $800,000.

Following the handover ceremony, USAID CARCEP commenced its second four-day solar photovoltaic (PV) installer training for students from the high school, residents of Petersfield, Paradise Park and surrounding communities.

"We thank our partners for the committed service to our young people, all in a bid to ensure that at least the next generation of Jamaicans are able to make sound solar energy decisions," said Dr Michele Pinnock, Region Four director from the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, during her opening remarks.

Additionally, the USAID in-kind donation included a supply of 18W LED tubes to replace the existing fluorescent light bulbs, that will also help to improve the energy performance of the property. With this system installation and lighting upgrade, 75 teachers and just about 1,900 students will benefit from immediate energy savings amounting to approximately $30,000 in the school's monthly electricity bill.

"Here at Petersfield High School, we consider ourselves extremely fortunate to have been selected as a beneficiary," said school principal Clyde Evans.

"Of importance is the fact that not only have we received this system, but in addition, through partnership with USAID, our representatives along with others not directly connected to the school are being trained in the installation and use of the system," he added.

The introductory training course, which includes a mixture of practical and theoretical knowledge, will equip participants with the basic understanding and hands-on experience to function safely in a photovoltaic environment.

Participants who are successful at passing the in-course assessments will ultimately earn an NVQJ/CVQ Level I certification, once ratified by the HEART Trust National Training Agency (NTA). HEART Trust/NTA is currently assessing the course to ensure it meets the national standards for technical and vocational training.

Upon approval, the course will become the first nationally accredited photovoltaic installer course.

The overall goal of this initiative is to inspire participants to consider a career in solar energy as the certification will provide them with the required qualifications to work as entry-level PV Installers.

Westmoreland will be home to the largest solar park in the Caribbean, a 37MW project now under development by Eight Rivers Energy Company and Neoen.