Wynberg Girls’ schools walking on sunshine

2019-08-27 06:00
Ava Beukes from Wynberg Girls’ Junior School says: “We have our own charger, literally.”

Ava Beukes from Wynberg Girls’ Junior School says: “We have our own charger, literally.”

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Wynberg girls’ school have gone solar with Sun Exchange in celebration of Women’s Month.

The public crowd-sales of solar cells to power the projects of the two schools; Wynberg Girl’s Junior School and Wynberg Girls’ High School, are now open.

Sun Exchange is a Cape Town-based, peer-to-peer solar cell micro-leasing marketplace, which allows people from around the world to purchase and then lease solar energy-producing cells to organisations in emerging markets.

The schools decided to launch their crowd-sales during Women’s Month in appreciation of the brave women who, in 1956, protested against the extension.

“Those women who stood up to the apartheid regime represent, to us, the extraordinary power of women to revolutionise their societies and the world.

“They’re an inspiration to us as we seek to transform South Africa by growing our country’s next generation of women leaders,” says Dee Cawcutt, principal of Wynberg Girls’ Junior School.

According to Shirley Harding, principal of Wynberg Girls’ High School: “This project is an opportunity for us to demonstrate to the girls that we live in a global village and that small actions can have a powerful impact.

“It is so exciting that someone in a distant part of the world can buy solar cells that will provide them with an income stream and us with more affordable electricity to power our school,” says Harding.

The Wynberg girls’ schools’ solar projects have received praise from the Western Cape department of education.

“Congratulations to the Wynberg girls’ schools for taking this step to become climate leaders by reducing their carbon footprint and by showing what can be achieved through innovation and technology,” says Debbie Schäfer, Western Cape minister of education.

“With initiatives like these, we are showing that women have what it takes to lead South Africa’s energy transformation while teaching girls about technology and entrepreneurship,” says Schäfer.

The solar projects will enable the schools to have solar power installed with no upfront or ongoing operational costs.

“With immediate savings on their energy bills from the first day a solar project is operational, the schools can focus their resources on what they do best X building tomorrow’s women leaders,” says Lisa Lyhne, Sun Exchange managing director.

Individuals can buy solar cells through Sun Exchange’s online platform, with the cells then installed at the schools under a 20-year lease.

The lease payments of “monetised sunshine” (income generated by the electricity the solar cells produce) are equivalent to an estimated 11 to 12% internal rate of return.

Buyers then have the option to contribute towards learning by choosing to donate part of these earnings back to the schools to bolster its science and technology departments.

V To get involved, register on www.thesunexchange.com.

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