St Joseph's Infant expanding solar system

St Joseph's Infant expanding solar system

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

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St Joseph's Infant School is no stranger to renewable energy initiatives and the institution is yet again raising the bar.

The Duke Street-based school won a 3KW photo-voltaic (PV) system along with installation courtesy of Appliance Traders Limited's (ATL's) 'Go Green' competition for early childhood institutions in 2017, but through Principal Rose Marie Clarke's initiative and drive, the institution is now looking to expand its PV set-up and further reduce its dependency on the Jamaica Public Service (JPS) grid.

“Our operation at the moment is still somewhat reliant on the energy grid. Therefore, once there is a JPS outage, we are left at a disadvantage. Our immediate goal is to expand our independent energy set-up so that when there is a power cut, we can still remain operational,” said Clarke.

Before the PV system, the school was paying in excess of $100,000 monthly for electricity consumption but with the addition of more technology and equipment, it is expecting to see the figure reduced even more.

Details of the addition are still being finalised, Clarke said, but the projet is expected to be implemented over the next few months.

“St Joseph's has taken a rather admirable approach in their commitment to energy saving. They have expanded their operations adding other technologies like inverter ACs in their classrooms so they will now require a more robust PV system to handle their upgrades. We're excited to work alongside them,” stated ATL's head of engineering Mark Blair.

Currently, St Joseph's operates 10 air-conditioned classrooms which utilise image projectors and computers along with student tablets, a music room and dance studio to support its active involvement in the performing arts for the approximately 300 students schooled at the institution. The school also has a resource room, which serves as a multi-purpose educational hub and meeting area for weekly parent workshops.

Clarke shared that eco initiatives are an important mandate of the school and one which she believes sshould be adopted by other institutions in and around the Corporate Area. Her sentiments are in sync with the Government's National Energy Policy for renewables to account for 20 per cent of the country's energy mix by 2030.

“We have beautiful sunshine downtown and around the urban area, so I do believe we need to invest in the power of the sun and allow it to work for us and our renewable energy needs. I am committed to this and I want more schools to explore the option of renewable energy so we can create a much more efficient and environmentally friendly Jamaica,” Clarke concluded.

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