‘Eco warriors’ empower school

2018-12-18 06:01
The team busy installing the solar panels on top of one of the school’s buildings.

The team busy installing the solar panels on top of one of the school’s buildings.

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A high school in Salt River has received a new solar power unit, thanks to environmental justice warriors from Khayelitsha.

The installation comes after a practical training workshop that ran during the year, where high school learners were taught the theory of renewable energy and practically shown how to build a solar power charging unit.

The 3.96kWp solar system will save Salt River Secondary School around R8200 on its annual electricity bill.

It will also help the school cut back five tons on its yearly carbon emissions, says a statement from SOLA Future Energy.

SOLA Future Energy is a Cape Town-based company that aims to propel the widespread adoption of solar energy systems in Africa. It also has offices in Johannesburg and Windhoek. The company believes that Africa’s future relies on affordable, clean and accessible energy­.

It aims to harness, store and distribute low-cost solar energy, enabling African business and industry to thrive, reads the statement.

The project and donation are a culmination of efforts between SOLA Future Energy and the climate change NPO, Project 90 by 2030, which are both committed to promoting affordable, clean and accessible energy in Africa.

The partnership culminated in the SOLAdesigned solar system being installed on Friday 7 December 2018. The school was awarded a Wessa Eco-Schools flag in 2017.

The Khayelitsha ‘eco warriors’ are a group of learners who were given practical training on the mechanics and benefits of solar power at workshops held earlier in the year. The workshops formed part of the “Playing with Solar” programme hosted by the two organisations and is part of the NPO’s YouLead leadership initiative.

Environmental education is a key part of the YouLead project, as well as exposing the “warriors” (as Project 90 by 2030 likes to call them) to renewable energy technologies and leadership skills, according to the statement.

Dom Wills, CEO of SOLA Future Energy, says that it was a privilege to work with the future leaders. “Through this project, we have been able to teach learners that providing a reliable, cheap and clean form of energy is something that can benefit communities and create jobs,” says Wills.

SOLA has been involved with three major segments of the programme: Two youth education workshops focused on designing a solar PV system; communicating with the media around solar PV projects, and the actual installation at the school.

“The ‘Playing with Solar’ initiative was made possible by generous funding from the HCI Foundation. The installation was made possible through donations from Ingeteam and Lumax Energy, who are sponsoring the solar inverter and mounting gear respectively,” says Daniel Robinson, team leader at Project 90 by 2030.

The school’s acting principal, Fairuz Patel, thanked everyone who worked on the project, saying that the money they are saving “can make a massive difference in the kind of education we can offer our learners, while also making a real and tangible difference to the environment”.

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