Project #5710

Provide electricity to 500 students in Belize

by Holy Cross Education Foundation
Sep 13, 2012

Provide Electricity to 500 students in Belize

Planned location: Phase 2 solar array (at right)
Planned location: Phase 2 solar array (at right)

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 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: 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!!

Phase 2 array location (from below)
Phase 2 array location (from below)
Bi-directional meter installed for first array
Bi-directional meter installed for first array
Current one-way meter to be replaced in Phase 2
Current one-way meter to be replaced in Phase 2

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Organization Information

Holy Cross Education Foundation

Location: Eden Prairie, MN - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
John McHenry
Eden Prairie, MN United States

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