As noted in our last project report dated about the 15th of April 2013, we still needed approximately $14K to complete Phase 2. Our target dates were 1) to complete all fund-raising for Phase 2 by July 1, 2013; (2) formally sign the procurement contract with Baker Renewable Energy over the summer; and (3) initiate a the procurement, shipping, and installation of the second 5KW array with an expected completion date of March or April of 2014. I am thrilled to report significant progress since that time. First, an external grant was successful and resulted in an award of $9000.00 toward the overall budget, and a second $1000 gift was also received externally. These additional funds were sufficient to allow the HCEF board to proceed to finalize and sign the contract with BRE for Phase 2.BRE has also stepped up to the plate by keeping costs low --- providing up to a $10K like-kind donation for travel, installation, and other ancillary expenses. Thank you Baker Renewable Energy: http://bakerrenewable.com. Formal signing took place on July 9th. As a result, I have reduced the amount needed through our GG partnership by $10,000 -- this will be reflected as of July 20: overall, this means that we now need approximately $4000 to complete all fund raising for Phase 2. We are nearing the finish line in terms of raising funds for this phase.
In addition to this good news, the Board met in late June as part of the school graduation. HCAS graduated 37 8th grade (Standard VI) students this year, all of whom passed the Belizean national high-school qualifying exam. This achievement ranked us second among the 25 or so Anglican primary schools in the nation in terms of academic achievement. Way to go teachers, students, and staff!! Due to continued need for additional classroom space near San Mateo, we have been asked by the local town officials to consider starting a high-school, and this is under consideration by the Board. I have attached a few graduation and Board meeting pictures associated with this year's activities. Again thank you so much for your continued interest and support!!
Our most recent site visit to Holy Cross Anglican School was completed a week ago. During that visit, Board Member John McHenry and volunteers including two from Baker Renewable Energy surveyed the school for location and upgrades needed to support the second 24-panel solar array. It was determined that the array can most efficiently be positioned on a flat surface (to be constructed) near the middle of the two interconnected rooves on the lower main portion of the building. Further, an upgrade to the meter on that building will be needed to support bi-directional power flow when the array is installed. The volunteers also completed applying 8 buckets of white reflective coat paint on previously rust-colored corrugated sheet metal roofing... this will enable interior classroom cooling of up to 5-8 degrees which will improve the educational environment for many teachers and students -- since none of the classrooms are air conditioned. Our fund-raising for Phase 2 is going well -- with much thanks to our phenomenal supporters. Know that we could not do this without you. But we still need approximately $14K to complete Phase 2. Our target dates for Phase 2 are as follows: (1) complete all fund-raising for Phase 2 solar by July 1, 2013; (2) formally sign the contract with Baker Renewable Energy over the summer; (3) procure all solar panels and peripheral equipment in the fall; including upgrade of meter and materials for the array platform; (4) ship materials near the end of the year; (5) take delivery of the materials in Belize City in January or February of 2014; (6) complete solar panel installation and checkout in March or April of 2014. I have attached a few pictures of our latest site visit. Again, thank you so much for contributing to this worthwhile project!
Progress in fund-raising for our second solar array has kicked off to benefit the students that attend Holy Cross Anglican primary school in San Mateo, Belize. Even though it is located on a "tourist' island, San Mateo is one of the poorest communities in all of Belize, with lack of clean water, sanitary sewage, and reliable electricity contributing along with sub-standard housing and incomplete roads. Families not only lack access to basic living necessities, they lack the resources needed to provide adequate nutrition and medical/dental care to their children.
In the meantime, our current 24-panel 5kW array continues to provide savings equivalent of about $3000USD per year, or about $250USD a month -- money that is being used to support our feeding program. The feeding program involves serving the equivalent of two nutritious meals a day to students that would otherwise not have access to the nutrition needed to grow and thrive.
Our second array will be located atop the primary school building and will enable both the school office itself (which is not affected by the current array) and the school cafeteria, kitchen, classrooms, and associated appliances to benefit from renewable energy.When installed, this would enable a nearly 30% offset in total school annual power bills including both meters, for an annual savings of about $6,000USD.
The Phase 2 array can be fully funded for about $28,800 ($33,120 including GG 15% re-coup) including purchase of 24 210W panels and associated hardware, shipping/customs, labor, bi-directional meter costs/installation, and ancillary or unanticipated expenses. This amounts to $1200 ($1380) per panel. Our base-line donation level is $28,855 raised during Phase 1; as of this report we have raised $3610 toward our Phase 2 goal, which is a good start!
Our next site visit will be in late March/early April of 2013. At that time project leaders including engineers from Baker Renewable Energy -- our solar panel contractor -- will conduct a review of Phase 2 project plans including proposed location and integration aspects with the Phase 1 solar array.
As noted in the previous report(6), surveys of power bills from Belize Energy and Light (BEL), plus discussions with local staff, revealed that on average the array is making an approximately 30% difference (reduction) in monthly billing costs against the meter that measures usage from the Computer Learning lab and composting toilet facility. Since that report, additional surveys have been conducted during a site visit in late June, 2012. At that time we confirmed that BEL followed through on their agreement to install a bi-directional meter, such that at least some offset is occurring when our current array feeds power back to the Belize grid.
Further confirmation on savings was obtained with direct comparison of two 8-month periods from 2011 (with no array), and from 2012 (with the Phase 1 array turned on). The 30% reduction in monthly billing costs was confirmed, amounting to an extrapolated annual savings of about $3000USD, including the effect of the white reflective coat paint applied to the roof underneath the array as part of the funded Phase 1 project.
Discussions with local officials in Belize also indicate a very favorable opinion of the project at the present time, with an expressed desire to explore expansion to other schools. While we intend to pursue this, our survey indicates a strong need for a second 5KW array at Holy Cross. This second array will be located atop the primary school building and will enable both the school office itself (which is not affected by the current array) and the school cafeteria, kitchen, classrooms, and associated appliances to benefit from renewable energy. It will be connected to the grid through a second bi-directional meter to replace the current one-way meter shown below. When installed, this would enable a nearly 30% offset in total school annual power bills including both meters, for an annual savings of about $6,000USD. These funds can then be re-couped for use in the feeding program and/or improved facilities. Over the expected 25-year lifetime of the array, the school will save ~$150,000 in power bills. Each array's payoff period is expected to be approximately 10-years out of the 25-year lifetime.
The Phase 2 array can be fully funded for about $28,800 ($33,120 including GG 15% re-coup) including purchase of 24 210W panels and associated hardware, shipping/customs, labor, bi-directional meter costs/installation, and ancillary or unanticipated expenses. This amounts to $1200 ($1380) per panel. We hope to complete our fund-raising for this Phase 2 effort by December 31, 2012. Along the way, we intend to take advantage of the GG 30% bonus match day planned for October 17. Here are some details:
On October 17, GlobalGiving will be matching donations made through www.globalgiving.org at 30% up to $1,000 per donor. GG has $50,000 available in matching funds. Matching will last until funds run out or until 11:59 pm. Here is a blog-post from GG's last 30% matching day in March: http://tools.blog.globalgiving.org/2012/02/24/go-all-out-for-the-1st-bonus-day-of-2012-on-march-14th/. Included in the post are specific terms and conditions.
For example, if 200 donors were each to give $115 on October 17th (before matching funds run out), we could raise a total of $26,000 after the GG 15% re-coup. This would almost fund the entire project. Let's get motivated!!
Our base-line donation level is $28,855 raised during Phase 1. Going forward, all donations will now be accredited to Phase 2!
Please consider donating toward this very worthy second phase of the project!!
The solar array atop the office complex at Holy Cross Anglican School (24 280W panels; 5MWatt overall) had been up and running continuously through about March 4, 2012. At this time, a problem developed -- potentially related to a storm that blew through -- causing a loss of power. Our contractor, Baker Renewable Energy, proposed several possible causes, and a bad fuse was found to be the culprit. On April 1, I arrived on site with a replacement, which was installed and tested. This fixed the problem. I also carried with me a number of spares should the problem arise again. The system has been back online without interruption since that time.
Surveys of power bills from Belize Energy and Light, plus discussions with local staff, revealed that on average the array seems to be making a 20- 30% difference (reduction) in monthly billing costs against the meter that measures usage from the Computer Learning lab and composting toilet facility. Unfortunately, there also appears to be some -- perhaps significant -- solar-power generated that goes unused and gets fed back onto the grid.This may occur when the computer lab is not being used (computers are shut down, A/C is set a bit higher) and/or when the composting toilet facility is at minimal load. A second meter, which is on a different circuit (office itself, on-site maintenance man's apartment, school kitchen, dining room facility, many classrooms) is not tied into the solar panel, and so its bill is not affected. Power loss could be mitigated if the solar array were also connected to this second metered circuit.
We also surveyed the office complex roof where the current array is located, and determined that there is room for another 12 panels on this particular stretch of roof.
Thus, we believe we are ready for a Phase 2 project which will (1) increase the capacity of the present system; and (2) tie the system into both meters in such a way that it minimizes power loss; (3) continue to encourage Belize Electricity Limited to buy back power that we are generating and not using (currently they have no program in place to do that).
I've posted some pictures of the recent survey of roof space available to expand our current array with the hope of having a solid plan for a Phase 2 project in place sometime over the summer. Thanks again to all for supporting this wonderful project!!
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