Apply to Join

Provide electricity to 500 students in Belize

by Holy Cross Education Foundation
Provide electricity to 500 students in Belize
Provide electricity to 500 students in Belize
Provide electricity to 500 students in Belize
Provide electricity to 500 students in Belize
Provide electricity to 500 students in Belize
Provide electricity to 500 students in Belize
Provide electricity to 500 students in Belize
Provide electricity to 500 students in Belize
Provide electricity to 500 students in Belize
Provide electricity to 500 students in Belize
Provide electricity to 500 students in Belize
Provide electricity to 500 students in Belize
Provide electricity to 500 students in Belize
Provide electricity to 500 students in Belize
Provide electricity to 500 students in Belize
Provide electricity to 500 students in Belize
Provide electricity to 500 students in Belize
Provide electricity to 500 students in Belize
Provide electricity to 500 students in Belize
Provide electricity to 500 students in Belize
Provide electricity to 500 students in Belize
Provide electricity to 500 students in Belize
Provide electricity to 500 students in Belize
Provide electricity to 500 students in Belize
Provide electricity to 500 students in Belize
Provide electricity to 500 students in Belize
Provide electricity to 500 students in Belize
Provide electricity to 500 students in Belize
Provide electricity to 500 students in Belize
Provide electricity to 500 students in Belize
Provide electricity to 500 students in Belize
Provide electricity to 500 students in Belize
Provide electricity to 500 students in Belize
Provide electricity to 500 students in Belize
Provide electricity to 500 students in Belize
Provide electricity to 500 students in Belize
Provide electricity to 500 students in Belize
Provide electricity to 500 students in Belize
Provide electricity to 500 students in Belize
Provide electricity to 500 students in Belize
Example of "overproduction penalty" on System 1
Example of "overproduction penalty" on System 1

Dear Friends,

First of all, we want to extend our care and concern for all of you and your loved ones during this time of global pandemic. Like myself and our Board members, many if not most of us have been impacted by COVID-19 in one way or another. If you or a loved one are ill, our thoughts and prayers are with you. If you are struggling with employment, or facing any financial hardship, our thoughts and prayers are with you. And if you are like many of still adjusting in the face of continuing uncertainty, we are with you.

All that said, it is not surprising that the new Phase IV solar array to be placed on the the on-campus housing is currently on hold. However, we are pleased to inform you that we are moving ahead with improving the two current systems, which combined produce a maximum of about 11KWH. As noted in previous reports, Belize Energy and Light has yet to implement net-metering, so when the arrays overproduce power, we send that extra electricity back to the grid AND get charged for moving the meter when we do. In other words, the meter runs forward no matter which direction the electricity is flowing.

To counter this problem, our partners at SESB are now providing low cost zero-grid feed units. We will be placing one of these units on each of the two systems, so when we do overproduce, the electricity will be directed to ground rather than back into the grid. One might ask why not send the extra to battery backup? The problem is that for the size system we own, combining battery backup with grid-tied solar is very expensive. At some point we will hope to do that, but for now it is beyond budget.

I have posted two diagrams below to illustrate how the zero-grid feed units will improve our efficiency, saving us an additional 5-25% depending on school demand. For example, given that Holy Cross is not in session due to COVID, we are overproducing significantly and thus losing a lot of benefit due to the BEL policy. Under these circumstances, the zero-grid feed units will mitigate this problem: we will not have to pay a "penalty" for overproducing electricity.

I did make the two site visits that I had mentioned were upcoming in my last report. While we are not in immediate need to raise all of the funds for the Phase IV array and its zero-grid-feed unit, the first two zero-grid-feed units that we are installing are expected to cost about $2500.00USD. Hence, any and all amounts that you can provide at this time will continue to help the school and its many students to have a brighter future.

Thanks again for all you continue to do to help support the ability to provide an education for 500 students that --- otherwise --- would not have a place to attend school.

Warm regards, John

Example of "overproduction penalty" on System 2
Example of "overproduction penalty" on System 2
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
"Egauge" data for last 30-days energy production
"Egauge" data for last 30-days energy production

Dear Supporters,

Thanks to one and all for your ongoing generosity as we continue to work toward energy independence at Holy Cross Anglican School in Belize. While efficiency in solar panel energy production varies with solar incidence angle as well as with amount of cloudiness and precipitation, in recent weeks our two existing systems have -- combined -- produced more than 50% of the energy demanded by school operations.

Furthermore, the schedule for installing our next array on the new housing (see pictures) for school professionals is coming into better focus. I will be making two site visits within the next 3 weeks, including a stop-over at Solar Energy Solutions Belize (SESB). SESB will be providing the array and installation services for the new housing. While we originally estimated that cost at about $15K, we now believe we can reduce that to about $12K as a result of better sizing of the array. Unfortunately, the BEL proposed grid-tied auction hasn't materialized, so, we are still in a position to balance what an array can produce versus the demand. By downsizing somewhat, we believe we will avoid sending much excess energy back to the grid, which is favorable for us. In terms of schedule, we are hoping to lock in an installation date somewhere in mid-April 2020, about the time we expect the new house to be ready for occupancy.

Closely related is improving our efficiency on the demand-side. We have completed a thorough survey of lighting requirements --- and there are many lights needed to keep a school with 500 students, staff, and faculty going on a day-to-day basis. Most of the current lighting was installed years ago by volunteers and is not efficient. Our survey suggests that we can save up to ~1KWH of demand by exchanging our lighting for LED's. With the cost of LED's coming down, we are now in a position to begin making a push to do this. I will provide a cost-estimate as soon as I have one.

Thanks again for all you continue to do to help support the ability to provide an education for 500 students that --- otherwise --- would not have a place to attend school.

Warm regards, John

Volunteers pose at the entrance to the school
Volunteers pose at the entrance to the school
Volunteers work on housing construction
Volunteers work on housing construction
Volunteers pose on the deck of the new housing
Volunteers pose on the deck of the new housing
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Volunteers celebrate after completing roof install
Volunteers celebrate after completing roof install

Dear Supporters,

We continue to be grateful for all you have done to make our solar panel power production systems possible at Holy Cross Anglican School in Belize. Our two systems, combined, are providing about 35-40% of our overall demand, including the office/computer-lab system (system 1 and 3) and the classroom/cafeteria system (system 2). While I have not been to Belize since late June, construction progress on the new housing for school professionals has continued and is nearing readiness for Phase 4 solar panel installation (see pictures). As I noted in my previous report, a new electrical service meter and breaker box have been installed, and most of the interior wiring has been run. At the time of my last visit, I also met w/ our local provider, Solar Energy Solutions Belize (SESB), to get an update on the Public Utilities Commission grid-tied auction as well as to discuss their role in our Phase 4 installation.

An unforeseen challenge arose over the summer in that, apparently, for business reasons, our partners at Baker Renewable had to dispose of equipment they had planned to donate. Hence, that donation is now off the table. This means that we will pursue working directly with SESB to purchase and install our Phase 4 system, which we are estimating will cost $15K plus installation. We believe a 16-panel system consisting of 240W units will meet the needs of the new building; however, we must still factor in the possibility (or not) that BEL will actually follow-through on stated plans to allow net-metering. If they don't, then we will have to be careful in sizing the system such that we are not significantly over-producing power during low-demand periods.

In my next report, I will update all of you with better numbers on the projected cost of the Phase 4 system, as well as a more well defined timeline for installation. Given the challenges discussed above, we really need as many of you as possible to help us meet our funding goal for Phase 4.

Warm regards, John

Volunteers installing sheetrock for inside rooms
Volunteers installing sheetrock for inside rooms
Local Belizeans working on school housing
Local Belizeans working on school housing
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
New living quarters; site of Phase 4 solar
New living quarters; site of Phase 4 solar

Dear Supporters!

I just returned from a great trip to Belize, where construction on the housing for professional(s) that will assist our school to improve its counseling and social work resources for children and their families is making great progress (see pictures). The roof of this new on-campus structure will house the new Phase 4 solar panel system. Already, a new electrical service meter and breaker box have been installed, and most of the interior wiring has been run. While in Belize, I also met w/ our local provider, Solar Energy Solutions Belize (SESB), to get an update on the Public Utilities Commission grid-tied auction as well as to discuss their role in our Phase 4 installation.

In addition to SESB, our faithful partners at Baker Renewable Energy have graciously  offered to donate substantial hardware to the overall Phase 4 solution. Because construction on the house is making such great progress, I believe we will be ready to develop a final list of materials (1) that will be shipped by Baker; and (2) that will be provided in-country by SESB in the August/September 2019 time frame. I hope to be able to confirm this with my next quarterly report. We expect the roof of the new building to be ready for solar panel installation about this time as well.

Unfortunately, but not unexpectedly, PUC and BEL are moving very slowly on the auction registration process. With elections scheduled for next year, there is concern that this may be no more than political manuveuring, but we are still hopeful and shall continue to inquire on a timely basis.

Again, we extend our utmost thanks to you for your continued support and we look forward to our exciting next steps in our Phase 4 deployment plan.

Warm regards, John

Phase 4 location looking toward the south
Phase 4 location looking toward the south
New electrical service at Phase 4 location
New electrical service at Phase 4 location
volunteers work on Phase 4 site construction
volunteers work on Phase 4 site construction
Volunteer and staff examine existing solar
Volunteer and staff examine existing solar
just some of the 500 children that attend school
just some of the 500 children that attend school
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
System 1_3 combined savings, March 2019
System 1_3 combined savings, March 2019

Dear Supporters! 

While our combined Phase 1_3 and Phase 2 systems continue to function well --- allowing us a near 50% savings over the last month (see attachments), Phase 4 has gotten off to a great start! The school will be constructing living quarters for visiting volunteers that want to stay long term and have specific skills, such as social work, special education, members of the clergy, etc. The living quarters will be a modest "home" of about 650 sq. feet. See the attachment which shows the floorplan. As part of this project, our friends at Baker Renewable Energy have offered to donate 3-4KW of panels, enough to fill the planned south facing roof. We will still need various peripherals and will need to include shipping and possibly import duties along w/ funds for technicians to do the installation. Hence, Phase 4 will focus on raising the monies needed to cover these costs. 

Secondly, the Public Utilities Commission has elected to "auction" off several Megawatts of existing and planned connected solar for inclusion in a new net-metering program. Our Belizean partners, SESB, have taken the lead for us in submitting our application which has now made it through the first steps. The next step is an official site visit. SESB has offered to be on-site when PUC officials come out to the school, to help explain how our system's connections to the grid comply with the (new) PUC standards. While we are not there yet, we are very hopeful that within the next six months, all of our existing and planned Phase 4 solar will be included in the new program. 

Thank you so very much  for your continued support and we look forward to following up with you as things evolve in Phase 4 and w/ the potential to officially be included in the PUC net-metering program. 

John 

System 2 savings March, 2019
System 2 savings March, 2019

Attachments: Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
 

About Project Reports

Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating.

Get Reports via Email

We'll only email you new reports and updates about this project.

Organization Information

Holy Cross Education Foundation

Location: Eden Prairie, MN - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
John McHenry
Eden Prairie, MN United States
$80,380 raised of $90,000 goal
 
773 donations
$9,620 to go
Donate Now Add Project to Favorites

Help raise money!

Support this important cause by creating a personalized fundraising page.

Start a Fundraiser

Learn more about GlobalGiving

Teenage Science Students
Vetting +
Due Diligence

Snorkeler
Our
Impact

Woman Holding a Gift Card
Give
Gift Cards

Young Girl with a Bicycle
GlobalGiving
Guarantee

Sign up for the GlobalGiving Newsletter

WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.