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Cornwall College to go solar

Published:Saturday | April 7, 2012 | 12:00 AM
Solar panels used to provide electricity

Paul H. Williams, Gleaner Writer

MONTEGO BAY, St James:RECENTLY, IT was reported in the media that Minister of Mining and Energy Phillip Paulwell has turned to solar power to reduce his high electricity bill. Before him, others turned to the sun for assistance to pry them from the stranglehold that the Jamaica Public Service (JPS) had on them.

Montego Bay's Cornwall College, one of the oldest high schools in Jamaica, is now embarking upon a sustainable energy project to save that all-boys institution "over US$60,000 dollars annually for its energy bill", according to Lance Gibbs, president of the Cornwall College South Florida Alumni Association, whose idea it was to turn to nature for assistance. The plan is to trap and use the energy of the sun.

The project is expected to cost in excess of US$200,000, which the South Florida chapter is hoping to raise in collaboration with the New York and Canada chapters. But to accomplish this most worthwhile venture, the association is seeking the help of the entire Cornwall College community, past and present teachers and students, well-wishers and friends, who are invited to make a monthly contribution of US$100 for 10 months, a one-time contribution of US$1,000, or a one-time contribution of any amount.

The money to be saved from getting off the JPS grid will be used to erect and maintain new buildings on the school's sprawling compound on the "hill beside the sea". The association has raised US$35,000 so far.

proposed system

The installation of solar electricity will be done in different phases, starting with the administrative block. Phase one of the proposed system size is based on an available space of 13.7kW, and will consist of 64 215-watt panels, two 5,000W 50hz 240V grid tie/off grid inverters, a rack-mounting system, and a data-monitoring and reporting system.

The system size is 13.7kW under standard test conditions, based on an average of 5.5 hours of peak sun hours, and it is expected to produce 75.6kWH daily, 2270.5kWH monthly, and 27,244kwH annually. The panels will come with a 25-year power output warranty. Batteries, inverters, and charge controllers will come with a standard five-year warranty with the option to be extended for 10 years. All work will be warranted for one year.

People who are interested in making a contribution to the Cornwall College energy project may contact president, Gibbs, at, or treasurer, Michael Nedrick, at