Five solar water heaters, three 1,000-gallon water tanks and 15 solar panels valued at some $2.4 million are being installed at the St. Mary Infirmary in the parish capital, Port Maria.
Work is being undertaken by members of the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA), who were among scores of volunteers, who worked at the institution on Labour Day, May 23, under the theme, ‘Lend a Hand…Build our Land’.
The institution received a major facelift on Labour Day. Work included painting of the interior and exterior sections of the buildings, tiling, planting of several crops, erection of a fence and the general landscaping of the premises.
Director General of the JCAA, Colonel Oscar Derby, said the JCAA was happy to install the heaters, one for the laundry area and two each for the male and female dormitories.
Along with the water heaters, he said the tanks, pumps and plumbing fittings will be erected to ensure that the institution has a reliable supply of water.
Additionally, Mr. Derby said the institution will see the reduction of its energy cost with the installation of the solar panels to generate electricity for the institution. The bulbs in the female and male dormitories will also be replaced by 21 LED bulbs.
“The idea is to reduce their budget for energy, so that funds can be re-allocated to more meaningful things. We consider it important that the most vulnerable in our society are provided with adequate care and we also feel that the cost to the government for energy should be reduced,” he said.
Colonel Derby said work will be completed during next week, to include the installation of electrical fittings, the battery pack and inverters for power generation. He said the JCAA is also in the process of obtaining a permit from the Jamaica Public Service Company.
The Director General said that work started before Labour Day in order to set up some of the fittings and brackets. “What we were able to do is the installation of some of the solar water heaters and we connected all the plumbing on May 24, and those are now in use,” he said.
Apart from the work at the infirmary, Mr. Derby said the JCAA was also involved in another Labour Day Project at Jones Town Primary School in Kingston, where a water system was installed.
He said the project was undertaken to ensure a reliable supply of water at the school. “In the past year, whenever there was a water lock-off, the school had to be dismissed immediately,” he added.
Mr. Derby added that work at the school also included the replacement of bulbs with LED lights to defray the cost of energy; the installation of ceiling fans as well as the setting up of partitions to construct three classrooms.
“We have taken the old school furniture and will refurbish them. They will be delivered to the school over the next week or so, but what we have completed already is enough furniture for one of the three new classrooms,” he said.
By E. Hartman Reckord, JIS Reporter