Five primary schools should soon see major energy savings, as beneficiaries of a US$121,000 grant from the Government of Japan, following a signing ceremony at the Ministry of Energy this morning.
According to Permanent Secretary in the Division of Energy, Jehu Wiltshire, ???this grant is being offered under Japan???s Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Project??? [which] targets nonprofit organisations that implement development projects at the grassroots level in eligible countries???
He gave details of an ???ambitious??? solar electricity programme being undertaken by the Government of Barbados with a view to erecting solar systems on government owned buildings. ???We are seeking to have such systems erected on all of the schools in Barbados, so this will just be the first phase,??? the Permanent Secretary revealed.
The grant, which was initialed by Vice President of the Association of Public Primary School Principals (APPSP), Sandra Small-Thompson and Ambassador of Japan to CARICOM, Yoshimasa Tezuka, will finance 65 per cent of the project costs for photovoltaic (PV) installations at five primary schools – All Saints, Reynold Weekes, George Lamming, Christ Church Girls and St. Albans.
Senior Technical Officer in the Division of Energy, Horace Archer, explained that the project would take place over the next four months, with the systems set to result in a 10 to 30 per cent reduction in the schools??? energy costs.?????These systems will function as emergency power supplies during power outages, since some of these schools function as emergency shelters.
???The project also has a training and public awareness component, involving project stakeholders, the teachers and students from the school. Over 3,400 students will benefit from exposure to photovoltaic technology and hopefully, develop a broad understanding of energy issues.???
The official added that Science teachers would receive some level of training in this area, so as to impart their knowledge to students of the schools, adding that the Barbados Government would fund installations at other schools across the country as part of its 19 PV Project, which was started in 2011. The project aims to procure and install systems at ten schools, including St. Leonard???s, Alleyne, Lester Vaughn, Queen???s College and Ellerslie, and nine National Conservation Commission Facilities.
Vice President of the APPSP, Mrs. Small Thompson, expressed her gratitude to the Ambassador, acknowledging that the programme ???will build capacity to catapult the thinking of our society ??? children, parents and the community at large ??? into making more environmentally friendly decisions in their everyday lives.??? She added that the training opportunities would encourage students and adults alike, to embrace the sciences.
Ambassador Tezuka noted that ???students will have the opportunity to understand the value of renewable energy. Energy is a basic human need and finding ways to incorporate renewable energy into everyday life is important, especially with challenges like climate change.???
The Japan Ambassador also observed that 2014 marked 20 years of the Japan-CARICOM friendship, which was initiated at the 1993 Japan CARICOM consultation.