Phase 2 solar panels looking north
In my last report I noted that our second set of 5kW solar panels had been installed and was functioning! However, as of that report, we had been unable to locate the proper bi-directional "net-meter" needed to offset our power bills. I am thrilled to report that, working with Belize Energy and Light, Baker Renewable Energy (BRE) was able to procure and install the needed bi-directional meter. Power being generated by our Phase 2 array is now integrated with the electricity-feed from Belize Energy and Light. This reduces our BEL consumption by the amount we generate locally. And, as mentioned, our analysis shows that overall the school uses substantially more electric energy than these two arrays produce --so that virtually all of the solar power produced is being consumed by the school with nearly no waste.
Our annual Board meeting is being held at the school in association with graduation weekend, where nearly 40 students will receive the equivalent of 8th grade diplomas. We are very proud of their accomplishments as well as the outstanding efforts of our faculty, staff, and numerous volunteers that make Holy Cross Anglican School possible. At the Board meeting, we are re-affirming our 5-year vision and renewable energy remains high on the priority list: we want the school to become as self-sufficient as possible. It is not possible for very low income families to pay tuitions that would come close to allowing the school to pay the "normal" bills for simply keeping the school's "physical plant" running. In addition to solar power, we have a composting toilet and self-enclosed local water-treatment installation that allows us to recycle "gray" toilet water, saving thousands of dollars in water bills. This is augmented with a rain-water collection system. We are truly committed to renewables.
In Phase 3, we plan on providing a third 5kW solar farm. To prepare for this, a thorough energy audit will be undertaken as well as a review of the breaker/meter capacity. It is possible that some re-wiring may be needed to split the meters that are now there -- and some funds raised here may go to help make that happen. We will keep you posted as our plans take more specific focus. Thus, our project goal has now been raised to $90,000 to account for the new funding that will be needed in Phase 3.
There is no better opportunity to begin our Phase 3 fundraising than on Wednesday, June 25th -- Microsoft Youth Spark Bonus Day. Bonus Money becomes available at Noon EDT on Wednesday, June 25th and will be available until the $$ run out. There are $200,000 in matching funds plus some additional bonus money for qualifying projects. The most important terms and conditions are:
- Matching is applied at 100% for every donation from $10 up to $1,000 per donor per project until matching funds run out.
- The project that raises the most funds on Bonus Day will receive an additional $2,500 prize.
- The project that has the most unique donors on Microsoft YouthSpark’s Bonus Day will receive an additional $2,500 prize.
- Unique donors are determined using numerous criteria, including name, email address, credit card number, mailing address, and IP address.
- Fulfillment fee for donations: Global Giving charges a 15% fulfillment fee on donations. The fee will not be applied to matching funds.
- Only donations made via credit card of PayPal will qualify for the bonus money!
To make a donation, go to: http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/electricity-to-500-students-in-belize/ and click the Orange DONATE banner on the right hand side of the page, and follow the instructions. Again, you MUST have an account on Global Giving so that you can either provide your valid Credit Card information or use PayPal.
What an incredible opportunity! Any amount you give up to $1000 will be doubled by YouthSpark, allowing our donations to go much further than they ever have before. Many small donations will make a huge impact -- for example, just 300 donations averaging $50 each will raise most of the funds needed for Phase 3!! And if we have enough unique donors, we could qualify for a $2,500 or even $5,000 prize. Remember, the bonus day begins at Noon!!!
Thank you so much for whatever you feel you can give .... you continue to make a huge difference in the lives of students that are benefitting from an education they could not otherwise receive at Holy Cross Anglican School.