Project #5710

Provide electricity to 500 students in Belize

by Holy Cross Education Foundation
Jan 31, 2011

Provide Electricity to 500 Students in Belize (2)

Holy Cross Anglican Primary School
Holy Cross Anglican Primary School

Following upon the schedule noted in the first project report, Foundation Board Member John McHenry made a site discovery visit along with two renewable energy engineers from Baker Roofing. This visit was conducted Dec 12-13 at HCAS in San Mateo, Belize. The visit included discussions with Vernon Wilson, Board Member Cullen Walker, Francis Wilson, on-site facilities manager "Mr. Freddy" and other stakeholders. Engineers from Baker included roofing specialist Will DeGrace and project manager/renewables Jason Epstein.

The team conducted both on-roof and on-ground assessment. On-roof, it was determined that a proximate tall structure (the movie theatre) stood in direct line blocking the prevailing easterly winds to a height well above manufacturer's specs for the proposed wind turbine. The possibility of additional high-rise construction to the east was also concerning. This could reduce wind-power yield substantially, perhaps > 50% in the long-run.

Thus discussion turned toward solar photo-voltaic options. The main roof atop the school office complex which was examined. It is the largest area w/ attractive north-south facing roof. However, problems with a seam running down the center of the office complex roof would need repair. Consideration was also given to available roof above the composting bathroom facility, and to on-ground (platform-style) siting or even siting "in the swamp." 

Upon return, Baker completed the formal engineering study, recommending that the office roof complex be used, while including modest cost for the roof repair needed to support rack-based PVC system. The proposed system would include 24 Canadian 210W PVC panels and micro-inverters with 25yr/10yr (respective) warranties, yielding approximately 500kWHours power per month (conservative). Baker is in contact w/ Belize Energy and Light about meter hookup, but it appears unlikely that "net metering" will be an option at this early stage. The Foundation is now reviewing Baker's cost proposal with a view toward signing off within a week or two. Assuming this is acceptable, the schedule posted under the first project report is hopefully still attainable (repeated here):

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.

We are still hopeful -- and working toward -- a creative way to use any excess generated to directly benefit the economy of the impoverished San Mateo community, discussed in the first project report. How to do this may not become completely clear until we understand exactly what the power yield will be and during which times of the week we may be generating extra.

I have included several photos from the HCAS/Baker site discovery visit conducted in early December, 2010.

Discussing renewable energy options
Discussing renewable energy options
Baker engineers on the roof
Baker engineers on the roof
Discussing options for wind or solar power
Discussing options for wind or solar power
A scene from the San Mateo community
A scene from the San Mateo community
Engineers and Vernon Wilson study breaker box
Engineers and Vernon Wilson study breaker box



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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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