COMMUNITY SOLAR HUBS PROJECT POWERS GREEN RECOVERY

The Leonora Delville Primary School has been announced as one of the first of several public buildings that will become a ‘community solar hub’ in the BVI this year.

The installation is part of a wider project, led by the Government of the Virgin Islands and implemented by the Recovery and Development Agency, to develop more resilient and renewable energy sources across the Territory.

This was identified as a priority need after the 2017 hurricanes, which resulted in a significant and long-term loss of power to public buildings and homes across BVI. These new community solar hubs will be able to continue generating power during periods of outage affecting the main electricity grid, bringing a more dependable source of power to communities.

Amandla Engineering was awarded the contract for the supply and installation of the Solar Facility for the Leonora Delville Primary School valued at $40,748.00 on 14 January, 2021.  

Speaking at a contract signing ceremony, Ms. Nea Talbot, of Amandla Engineering said, “We approach this project with confidence that the renewable energy system will provide built-in resilience in the face of any obstacle, ensuring we can get children back to school more quickly in the wake of a natural disaster and to provide an even higher quality education on a day to day basis through a renewable power supply.” 

She added, “Through our work on site and the resulting system, we will be exposing our young people to the opportunities of this growing field, to engage young minds in the excitement of renewable energy, to play our part in nurturing the commitment of our young generations in environmentally conscious living and a sustainable British Virgin Islands.”

Work to design, procure and install solar panels at the Leonora Delville School commenced in December 2020.  Following this, additional panels will be installed at Jost Van Dyke Clinic and the Ivan Dawson Primary School. All three installations are led by the Recovery and Development Agency and funded by the Governor’s Office.

Speaking of the project, His Excellency the Governor J. Rankin said, “This project will bring so many benefits to the community, from building greater resilience in our power systems, to protecting our air and waters from harmful pollution. I commend the RDA for their leadership of this project and thank the UK for their financial support.”

Minister for Education, Culture, Youth Affairs, Fisheries and Agriculture Dr. the Honourable Natalio Wheatly said, “I am overjoyed that Leonora Delville Primary School will begin utilizing solar energy and even using excess energy to power the electricity grid. This follows the Bregado Flax Educational Centre, which became the first ‘grid tie’ building in the Territory.”

The Education Minister continued, “We are conducting solar technician training at the College, so our young people can be equipped to install, maintain, and repair similar systems on public and private buildings. I look forward to a number of other schools that will also receive solar installations, such as the Ivan Dawson Primary School.”

Minister for Health and Social Development Honourable Carvin Malone said, “Having an alternate energy source based in the community to ensure medical services are powered in times of crisis will ensure a more resilient society.  I am pleased that the Jost Van Dyke Clinic will be in a position to provide this service with accessible, clean energy.”

The sites were selected based on their capacity to support solar panels and their role in the community.  Schools and clinics were prioritized so that the provision of education and medical treatment would not be disrupted by any future power outages.

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