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  • Education Minister, the Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, has welcomed plans for the installation of solar energy and rainwater harvesting systems at the Edith Dalton James High School, over the next two years, which are expected to significantly reduce the institution’s utility costs.
  • The projects, to be spearheaded by the school’s administration, include setting up a 100-Kilovolt (KV) grid solar system, and a 20,000-gallon water tank to store harvested rainwater.
  • Implementation is expected to cost upwards of $25 million, and is projected to yield savings in excess of $6 million per annum, over the next 25 years, Principal, Ray Howell, has indicated.

Education Minister, the Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, has welcomed plans for the installation of solar energy and rainwater harvesting systems at the Edith Dalton James High School, over the next two years, which are expected to significantly reduce the institution’s utility costs.

The projects, to be spearheaded by the school’s administration, include setting up a 100-Kilovolt (KV) grid solar system, and a 20,000-gallon water tank to store harvested rainwater.

Implementation is expected to cost upwards of $25 million, and is projected to yield savings in excess of $6 million per annum, over the next 25 years, Principal, Ray Howell, has indicated.

Rev. Thwaites, who was the guest speaker at the recent dedication of five newly constructed classrooms, and a library resource centre at the school’s Duhaney Park compound, indicated that the solar project “is of significance.”

“It is needed in all of the schools in Jamaica (as) we are spending over $1 billion a year in utility costs. Part of (that money) can be saved…and…used to enrich (the) education (outputs), and enhance the salaries of productive teachers,” he argued.

In this regard, Rev. Thwaites said the Ministry is keen on facilitating discussions involving schools and contractors to explore “innovative” ways that funds can be sourced and utilised to provide solar and wind energy options “to take care of your utility needs.”

Mr. Howell, in the meantime, advised that “possible” suppliers have been identified for the solar project, adding that “we…are now actively seeking financing for the project.”

In relation to the rainwater harvesting system, Mr. Howell said it is projected that “we will (record) between 20 and 50 per cent in savings (from) that.”

He pointed out that implementation has already commenced with the installation of two 1,000-gallon tanks, which are currently in use.

There is also commitment from Industry, Investment, and Commerce Minister and Member of Parliament for Western St. Andrew, where the school is located, Hon. Anthony Hylton, for the provision of another 1,000-gallon container.

The solar energy and water harvesting systems are part of a multimillion upgrading programme being carried out at the school since 2007.

Mr. Howell said 10 additional classrooms, along with bathrooms, and other facilities, are also earmarked for construction over the next two years, at a cost of just over $40 million, “to complete our projects.”

He indicated that these projects will be carried out through “low-cost financing”, adding that the school has already received a proposal for the undertaking.

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