The St Andrew Anglican Secondary School is saving Government $50,000 a year in electricity bills due to its 48 photo voltaic solar panels on its roof.
The official handing over of the GRENLEC energy efficient project took place last Thursday at SAASS making the school the first on the island to be completely dependent on Solar Energy.
This initiative forms part of the prize given to the school for winning the 2012 Inter-Secondary school debating competition on the topic, “Be it resolved that the use of diesel for generation is better than alternative energy because of environmental footprints.”
The Chief Executive Officer of GRENLEC, Collin Cover encouraged the students to pursue studies in renewable energy as a means of alleviating entirely the use of fossil fuel.
“The environment is something precious, if we do things to destroy the environment we are destroying the future for all mankind on this plant. Presently in renewable energy focus is on electricity generation but more greenhouse gases are released from vehicles than from every power station in the world”, he told the students.
“…I would like to see you bright students focus when you go to university on what you can do to get greenhouse gases down from vehicles because that is going to affect us,” he said.
During the ceremony which took place in the presence of several Ministry of Education and Government officials, Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell complimented GRENLEC, the school and Government for the initiative.
The Prime Minister said that alternative energy is the way to go in the energy sector and emphasis has to be placed on tapping into the sunlight, wind, sea, and natural rivers as they all are potential sources of energy.
“We ought to use all the available ones in the process of optimising our energy sources for the development of our country. It is not difficult to understand it, that without a proper source of energy and electricity as the end product that your education will certainly be affected”, he said.
He added that that is why GRENLEC and the Government of Grenada “cannot spare one minute” and should work towards “a more cheaper supply of electricity for all aspects of development”.
The two-year old Mitchell government and GRENLEC are currently at loggerheads over a new Electricity Bill being formulated by the administration in order to liberalise the energy sector on the island.
GRENLEC, the sole provider of electricity on the island, has complained that the draft bill places too much powers in the hands of the Minister of Public Utilities.
The ceremony at SAASS was also addressed by Minister for Education, Anthony Boatswain who called for the project to be fully embraced.
He told the gathering, “From both the cost and environmental perspective renewable energy is certainly the way of the future. This not withstanding the recent decline in the cost of fossil fuel… this is a project well worth replicating in all of our schools and it is complimentary to our own initiative at the Ministry of Education to create a paperless environment in all of our learning institutions in the shortest possible time”.
Parliamentary Representative for St Andrew South-east, Emmalin Pierre who is a past student of the school took the opportunity to compliment SAASS on its achievement.
Minister Pierre reiterated that the energy efficient project would enhance the good work that is being done at the school.
“It will not only produce renewable energy but it will also provide an opportunity for the very practical education of the student body.
They can now see and experience what is really possible by way of renewable energy and I hope that this would energise and inspire them to pursue careers in research and businesses in this field”, she said.
The female government minister lamented the fact that the project will result in the school being able to save significantly on its utility bills and additional financial resources can now be redeployed to enhance classrooms, as well as provide teaching and learning material, provide support services to students and enhance the school.
Approximately $220,000 was spent on the energy project at SAASS.