Jamaica Education Ministry To Introduce Solar Systems In Schools

KINGSTON,(JIS): The Ministry of Education has announced the introduction of solar energy systems in schools in a bid to reduce the estimated J$6 billion per annum in utility costs for schools.

Pilots for this initiative are expected to begin in several schools come September, Education Minister, Ronald Thwaites, informed on May 16 at a post-Sectoral Debate press briefing at Jamaica House.

He pointed out that the Ministry has proposals from companies, which are willing to provide these solar systems at their own cost.

“They have indicated that a savings of at least 20 per cent of energy used can be achieved, and we would pay for the capital cost over a period of time,” Rev. Thwaites said.

“This is the direction in which we are thinking…I expect that within another month, I will have a set of proposals and the financial implications for it to be done,” he said.

He added that the cost of solar systems could be lowered if the use of batteries to store energy for nighttime is eliminated, since schools only operate during the daytime.

“We have a number of problems…we are careless in that many of the lights in our schools stay on all day and all night,” the Minister said, adding that in some communities residents illegally connect to the electricity systems at some institutions, as well as use water from the school compounds.