Mar 20, 2018

Installation of Phase 3 Solar Underway

Dear Supporters,

The installation of our new, Phase 3, 6KW solar array at Holy Cross Anglican School will commence next week with the shipping of the palletized equipment from Belize City to San Pedro, and then trucking on to the school property.

The following week -- April 2 -- I will be on-site as well as two technicians from Baker Renewable Energy and the lead technical expert from Solar Energy Solutions Belize (SESB). I will also have a work team with me.

Together, we will do a final inventory of the shipped system to ensure that nothing was lost, stolen, or damaged in transit. The BRE folks will remove the Phase 1 array from office-complex roof and inspect each of these original panels for defects or damage incurred over the last five years. We expect that only a few will not be re-usable. The BRE technicians will then re-locate (most of) the Phase 1 array by adding on to the two strings of panels that were installed in Phase 2, providing us with more capacity on the Phase 2 side of the school.

In parallel, my work team will remove and replace the office complex roof, and then apply white, reflective coat paint, leaving a pristine surface onto which the new Phase 3 array will be installed. We anticipate the roof replacement and preparation work will last all week. This will leave only the actual Phase 3 array installation to be completed once my work team and the BRE guys depart.

Within a couple of weeks thereafter, SESB is scheduled to bring its technical installer team on-site. We believe that all of the work and commissioning of the new Phase 3 array will be complete by April 30th.

We are thrilled to be at this point, and look forward to realizing the cost savings at the school where so many underpriviled children are served. We couldn't have gotten to this point without you, our supporters, and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

John

Dec 19, 2017

Plans for Phase 3 Implementation Near Completion

Dear Supporters,

This fall has been busy making final plans for implementing our Phase 3 solar array. As noted in my last report, Baker Renewable Energy agreed to sub-contract with SESB for local procurement and installation services, and a conference call was pending. The conference call occured about two weeks later, with good results. Various options for positioning the new array on "available" roof space were considered along with options to size the array according to the data provided by the e-gauges. Additionally, the pros and cons of micro- versus string-inverter(s) were considered for the new array. Following the call, SESB provided two quotes, one for a 6KW system and one for a 7KW system. As of that time (October time frame), the plan was to leave the Phase 1 array where it is located now (on top of the office/computer-lab roof), leave the Phase 2 array alone as well, and put the Phase 3 array on a vacant roof section somewhat farther away from the office complex--requiring a significant conduit run to the office/computer-lab breaker box. (The 7KW system was chosen in terms of best price/performance option).

However, in the meantime, the sheet-metal roofing that supports the System 1 array developed leaks and needs to be replaced. This is the array that has suffered some degradation likely due to the combination of manufacturer defects and local tropical weather conditions.

Yesterday I concluded a meeting with BRE to discuss all of the above, and a slightly modified plan was developed. The new approach will be to remove the Phase 1 array from the office/computer-lab roof; and then replace the roof. This will leave a pristine, brand new roof upon which to place the Phase 3 array. It will also prevent the need for a long conduit run. The Phase 1 panels and micro-inverters will be examined and tested and those that are not functioning will be discarded; the rest will be placed adjacent to the Phase 2 array and tied into the second breaker that support the kitchen/cafeteria and most of the classrooms. The new 7KW Phase 3 array will then be installed to support the office/computer-lab.

Our tentative schedule is as follows: (1) BRE sends skilled technician to remove Phase 1 array, assess its condition, assist with roofing replacment, and re-install working panels to augment the Phase 2 array. This will be scheduled for Jan/Feb 2018 time frame; (2) upon completion; SESB will be scheduled to install the Phase 3 array on the new roof on the office/computer-lab complex.

In addition, the HCEF Board (including myself) will hold an on-site meeting the weekend of January 26-27, 2018. While it is possible that the planned BRE visit and roof replacement could occur during that time, scheduling the BRE visit will also have to account for disruptions that might impact school days, depending upon the length of time needed to complete all of the planned work.

The next few months promises to be very busy, and we renew our thanks to one and all of you for your continuing support of the school and the children we serve.

John

Sep 18, 2017

Push to complete Phase 3 Underway!

Solar Energy Solutions Belize Showcase Grounds
Solar Energy Solutions Belize Showcase Grounds

Dear Supporters!

Lot's of very good progress since my last report!! I completed a visit to Solar Energy Solutions Belize (SESB), located on the outskirts of Belmopan, the capital city. After a short tour of the facility, I sat down with Mr. Sylvan to further discuss strategy for purchase and installation of our Phase 3 system. The e-gauges have allowed us to assess how much additional capacity can be installed now that we have more than half-a-year of good data. Essentially, we have plenty of capacity on System 1 --- enough to install 20-24 more panels at 250W per panel. In our first two phases, BRE performed all of the purchasing and coordinated shipping and import...however, now that SESB is involved, it makes more sense to sub-contract to them for the panels and peripherals with the possible exception of the micro-inverters. SESB can also perform much of the installation on-site.This approach prevents us from having to coordinate shipping and navigate our way through customs, which can be challenging. I have attached a number of pictures of my meeting at SESB headquarters.

Secondly, I recently met with BRE since they are still prime contractor. They agreed that sub-contracting to SESB is an ideal plan, with Baker serving as a resource for micro-inverters and to help with on-site installation and local staff training (mentioned in my last report). To finalize our schedule, BRE and SESB will hold a conference call in the next couple of weeks. After the call, I expect that we will be able to finallize the calendar and move forward with purchase and install within the next six months!!

Finally, BRE believes that we may be able to get no-cost (under warranty) replacement panels for the several within the Phase 1 array that have suffered from the manufacturing defects I described in my last report. They will look into this in the next few weeks.

The good news is that even without net-metering, we draw so much power that we have plenty of "headroom" to install the planned additional capacity on System 1. This should help considerably with our day-to-day operational electricity costs. I have attached an e-gauge image that demonstrates the headroom over the last week on System 1.

I am very excited that we've reached this point in the project and look forward to continuing our momentum. Thanks to one and all for your continued support and interest!

John

Meeting with SESB personnel (John at right)
Meeting with SESB personnel (John at right)
SESB systems monitoring wall
SESB systems monitoring wall
System 1 demand (red) and solar production (green)
System 1 demand (red) and solar production (green)
 
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