Project #5710

Provide electricity to 500 students in Belize

by Holy Cross Education Foundation
Oct 26, 2010

Provide Electricity to 500 Students in Belize (1)

Pre-project engineering work has begun toward supplying the students of Holy Cross Anglican school with a renewable energy supply. Both wind turbine and solar-voltaic systems -- or a combination thereof -- are being studied. Determination will be made based on the optimal cost-benefit solution given the funds (about 35K) available to the project.


We have selected as Baker Renewable Energy ( as our partner/supplier. Baker will be doing the formal engineering study while consulting with others on the Board of Directors and Vernon Wilson, the on-site missionary and facilities/operations manager. Vernon will approve the final go-ahead after the engineering numbers are obtained. A site visit may be planned if enough data cannot be obtained apart from such.

Initial meetings have yielded the following information:

(1) Considering solar-voltaic systems, these are modular and can be mounted on plywood/laminate over top of the current corrugated metal roofing, becoming a base upon which to mount the modular SV panels. Since roofing on the office-complex faces due north/south, this might be attractive to attain an approximate 13-degree inclination angle. Any type of plywood must be termite proof. The lab part of the complex has joist placed every 18 inches as well as plywood sheeting over that, then the tar papere and then the metal roof. The office itself only has joist placed on 24" centers with the metal roof attached to strips of wood placed every 24".

2) There is room for a 20-30 amp breakers in the office complex that would be needed for the SV roof based system.

3) In terms of wind, Baker renewable believes that a 60-foot tower would yield the most efficient system. This would require about 8-10 cubic yards of concrete. Concrete could be fiberglass re-enforced or more traditional with rebar. The tower comes in 15-foot sections. It appears, however, that there is a nominal 40-foot height restriction in the community where the school is located, so a variance would be required. Vernon will contact the person who would need to get the ball rolling and see what might be involved. Baker will provide specs. The local government might also need to be involved.

4) The extremely low-income community of San Mateo is adjacent to the school. San Mateo has no running water, no electricity, no sanitary sewage system, and no roads. San Mateo has been listed as one of the communities at greatest risk of disease outbreak due to the conditions there. About 200 students at the school come from San Mateo. We are hoping to provide a benefit to San Mateo directly from the project in addition to reducing the conventional electric bills at the school. Primarily, we are examining the following: (a) the feasibility of a solar-based desalination system; (b) solar-hot water heaters that would be accessible by the San Mateo residents or small systems for individual homes in San Mateo; (c) a large solar still for the school.

5) The possible need for a site visit to conclude the pre-project engineering and make final decisions.

The following project schedule has been adopted:

November-December 2010: Conclude pre-project engineering including site-visit as needed. Final cost analysis, including materials purchase, needed skill mix on the ground for installation, shipping and customs, local gov't tax, ancillary. Finalize local permits needed, if any, and their cost.

Jan-Feb 2011: Order/obtain materials, finalize shipping date. Obtain local permits and sign-offs.

March 2012: Schedule and conduct shipping, site-work begins.

April 2012: Site work and installation.

May 1, 2012. Power on. Phase 1 concludes.


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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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