Solar power for schools


Energy Minister Kevin Ramnarine said a tender is being prepared for the award of a contract to install Solar Photo-Voltaic panels and solar powered distilled water stills into twenty-five schools across Trinidad and Tobago.


This according to Ramnarine will ensure that all students using a library or IT room will experience first-hand a classroom lit only by renewable energy. Ramnarine made this announcement in his address at the Inaugural Installation of Solar Lighting at Community Centres at Malabar Phase iV Community Centre , Malabar, Arima recently. 


He said NEC with funding from the Ministry of Energy and Energy Affairs (MEEA) under the Government’s PSIP is preparing a tender for the award of a contract to install Solar Photo- Voltaic panels and solar powered distilled water still into 25 schools across Trinidad and Tobago. In recognising the need by both students and teachers to learn first-hand about how this all works, the Minister has funded an intensive training programme in collaboration with UWI and UTT to train about 100 treachers and technicians from TT to be able to deliver lessons on renewable energy and energy efficiency. 


The main priority of the ministry remains the increased production of oil and gas to sustain our many world class facilities and provide citizens with fuel for transport and generated electricity. On this note Ramnarine took the opportunity to inform the population that TT has now become the second country in the world to generate all its electrical power from the cleanest fuel natural gas. This as many other first world countries still heavily depend on diesel, coal and fuel oil for power generation. Ramnarine told his audience that while renewable energy does serve as an adjunct to conventional power generation, we cannot say in any short space of time that it will completely replace it in TT. 


What is key in our own timeline is the recognition of energy as an essential commodity and should treat it with the respect it deserves. Sadly TT remains one of the least energy efficient countries in the Caribbean region and partly because all enjoy the lowest electricity prices, some may gasp in awe as they consider what are already high electricity bills, but one must keep in mind if they lived for example in Dominica one will be paying ten times that same figure. 


Ramnarine said what we are guilty of then is encouraging a culture of wastefulness with regard to energy. “Too often unnecessary lights are on, clothes are packed into a dryer even on hot and windy days, doors are left open in air condition rooms. All in all we take energy for granted Ramnarine said. 


He said the solution is not as simple as increasing the electricity prices to punish people, but an approach to inform and educate them about simple ways to stop this unnecessary wastage.