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Principal at Ardenne High School in St. Andrew, Nadine Molloy (left), accepts a commemorative plaque from Senior Research Officer for Renewable Fuels, Biofuels and Hydropower, Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ), Denise Tulloch, during the official handover ceremony for PCJ energy interventions at the institution recently.
Photo: Donald De La Haye

Story Highlights

  • Ardenne High School in St. Andrew is realising significant reductions in its electricity bill since the installation of a 15-kilowatt solar photovoltaic (PV) system and a major light emitting diode (LED) lighting upgrade at the institution.
  • The projects were implemented by the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ) at a total cost of $7.8 million
  • Ardenne is one of 15 schools and three government agencies that have received solar PV systems under a $62 million initiative by the PCJ as part of its efforts to reduce energy costs in the public sector.

Ardenne High School in St. Andrew is realising significant reductions in its electricity bill since the installation of a 15-kilowatt solar photovoltaic (PV) system and a major light emitting diode (LED) lighting upgrade at the institution.

The projects were implemented by the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ) at a total cost of $7.8 million

Ardenne is one of 15 schools and three government agencies that have received solar PV systems under a $62 million initiative by the PCJ as part of its efforts to reduce energy costs in the public sector.

Expressing gratitude for the undertaking, Principal at the institution, Nadine Molloy, said the savings have enabled the institution to invest in technological equipment to benefit students.

“That’s why we have been able to afford our smart boards because we have had savings, that’s why we have been able to do a lot of the ‘techy’ stuff, that we are doing; that’s why we can afford our fibre optic-dedicated Internet service, so when I make the announcement for you to turn off the lights, you are going to do it a little bit more,” she said.

Ms. Molloy was speaking at the official handover ceremony for the solar PV project held recently, at the institution’s compound in St. Andrew.

She noted that the institution had “electricity bills running anywhere close to $3-$4 million and we have had it close to $5 million for the month because we are a high energy use school because of our technology facilities.”

Ms. Molloy said the institution is looking forward to the continued benefit that is expected to be generated from the installations.

“We have seen it already, we have seen the dramatic reduction in our electricity bills…we have also seen where students have displayed quite a bit of interest,” she noted.

Senior Research Officer for Renewable Fuels, Biofuels and Hydropower, PCJ, Denise Tulloch, explained that the PCJ invested a little over $3 million in the installation of the solar PV system at Ardenne.

She noted that the system consists of 60 polycrystalline solar panels, three grid-tied inverters and a data logger for performance monitoring.

“We monitor this system because we have established targets for Ardenne High School. We had expected to save 17, 500 kilowatt-hours, which equates to roughly half a million dollars each year. At present, the system is exceeding our expectations. It is generating in excess of 20,000 kilowatt-hours with savings of $700,000 per year; that is fantastic for us…it means that you are doing even better than international standards would have expected,” she pointed out.

Turning to the LED project, she informed that this involved replacement of the fluorescent, incandescent and sodium vapour bulbs being used at the institution with energy-efficient lighting at a cost of $4.8 million.

More than 1,250 LED lamps were installed at areas across the school compound including classrooms, laboratories, staffrooms, restrooms, administrative offices, auditorium, the gymnasium and other recreational areas.

“The project also entailed an extensive review of the school’s electrical systems, so some improvements had to be done to the electrical circuitry to enable us to be able to put in the LED lights. The lighting project is currently saving the school over 30,000 kilowatt-hours per year, and that translates to $1 million of savings each year,” Ms. Tulloch said.

She noted that the solar PV system is expected to pay for itself within seven years, while the LED lighting project will pay for itself within five years.

“Everything will pay for itself, meaning the savings will overrun the cost within five years…and every dollar you earn after that is yours,” she said.

“These projects have shifted the energy profiles at Ardenne High School and they have also created space for you to do other things with the money you would have spent on your light bills,” she added.

Ms. Tulloch informed that the other schools in which solar PV panels have been installed have saved in excess of $16 million per year combined, on their electricity bills.

She encouraged the Ardenne students and the wider school community to make conservation an important part of their daily routine.

Ardenne has a student population of 2,000 students and 150 staff members.