One of the students in the SJPI’s Solar Photovoltaic Systems Programme flicking the switch to launch the new solar system at the institute. Looking on from left to right: SJPI Chairman, Shelton, Perkins; acting Minister of Education, Senator Lucille Moe; Minister of Energy and Water Resources, Wilfred Abrahams and IDB Representative, Juan Carlos de la Hoz Viňas. (C.Pitt/BGIS)

The classroom village at the Samuel Jackman Prescod Institute of Technology (SJPI), with its 109 KW solar photovoltaic (PV) system, possesses the potential to earn BDS$85,000 per year.

Minister of Energy and Water Resources, Wilfred Abrahams, disclosed this today, while speaking at the commissioning of the solar PV system at the Wildey institution.

The installation was made possible through a five-year BDS$50 million Public Sector Smart Energy Programme, funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the European Union (EU). 

The programme’s objective is to promote the use of renewable energy (RE) and energy efficiency (EE) in the public sector.

Designed to be undertaken in three components, Minister Abrahams noted that they included “the retrofitting of government buildings with PV; pilot projects for renewable energy integration by way of electric vehicle fleets and ocean energy studies; and a broad-based capacity building component across all sectors related to sustainable energy”.

Minister Abrahams stated that the retrofitting of 16 public buildings, with a total of 2.486 MW solar PV systems, a main benefit to the island, would bring about a reduction in energy costs and in CO2 and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. 

The Energy Minister challenged SJPI students to be the next set of ‘transformational pioneers’ in the RE sector. 

He also encouraged them to not only utilize the information from their teachers and books, but to use their ‘down time’ to create and enhance the solar PV systems currently in use, and turn the Transport Board Buses not in use, from diesel to electric, an action that could be fiscally rewarding, not just in Barbados but across the Caribbean.

Also speaking at the commissioning of the system, was acting Minister of Education, Technological and Vocational Training, Senator Lucille Moe, who noted that “technology has changed this world forever, and we in Barbados must keep abreast of the changes”. 

Minister Moe thanked the Ministry of Energy and Water Resources, the IDB and EU for their assistance in this endeavour with the Ministry of Education, a project she said the ministry desired for a long time, because it helped “to reduce our own monetary outputs when it comes to energy…where there is a large amount of money spent by education in energy and energy sources”.

She stated that renewable energy of any type “is the way most of the world is going”, and this project would also assist students in obtaining a life-long skill, as the SJPI has on offer two photovoltaic courses since 2014.

The systems at the SJPI were the first to be installed under the Public Sector Smart Energy Programme, which is scheduled to be completed in November 2020.

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