Quality is critical

Particularly under island conditions, cheapest is not best. Thanks to the support of our equipment and service sponsors we are able to install premium quality systems at very modest cost. A cornerstone of our projects is premium quality Yingli solar panels, SMA inverters, Clenergy high wind resistant mountings, Aquion Energy battery banks, Clipsal electrical fittings, Viribright LEDs and highly qualified installers.

Projects are carefully researched to deliver maximum education and environmental benefits. System design depends the on power needs of the school, for example, how many computers are expected to be used? do students have night study? do and how much teachers’ residences draw power? how many building do we need wire or make electrically safe?

Importantly we are mindful that during the coming decades it is certain that island schools will be striving for more electronic learning equipment in their classrooms and this will require more power. So the systems must cater for that growing need and continue to reduce the opportunity gap between rural and urban schools.

It’s also important that we don’t simply install and leave the systems. The school community is engaged in power saving education and the school also reports back to Its Time Foundation every term, so we can keep track of the system’s performance and maintenance needs.

Project components

 

Here’s some examples of completed projects:

 

Bouma District School

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Location: Taveuni Island, Fiji
Search Google maps: Bouma Taveuni, Fiji

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Bouma has 157 students in 2015. 9 teachers are providing classes from years 1 to 8.

8 teachers’ quarters are in the school precinct.

The school has a diesel generator that ran for an average of two hours per day and on a needs basis in the evening for the teachers to get their work done. Because of the lack of wiring, the generator did not supply any power to the teachers’ quarters. Instead teachers use their own small generators or kerosene lanterns or battery lamps.

The savings on fuel, kerosene and transport costs is approximately $4500 per year. That will be used to promote computer learning at the school.

This 3000W system includes: 12 x Yingli 250 solar panels, 1 x SMA SB3000TL grid Inverter, 1 x SMA SI4.4M remote inverter, 6 x Aquion S20P batteries, 1 x Clenergy ground mounting system. All tube lighting removed and replaced with LED globes. New electrical wiring installed in 8 teachers quarters and repair work carried out in several classrooms.

The project was funded by Mr Peter Bickerton, the Rotary Clubs of Lindfield, Ku-Ring-Gai, Roseville Chase and Taveuni (Fiji) and the Edwards family. The project was installed between Dec. 2015 and Feb. 2016.

For all equipment and service supporters please visit: supporters

 

St Paul’s Primary School

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Location: Naviavia, Venua Levu, Fiji
Search Google maps: Naviavia, Northern Division, Fiji

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At St Paul’s 5 teachers are providing classes for 99 students. 5 teachers’ quarters are on the school grounds. A dormitory houses 32 students from villages in the region.

The teachers’ quarters had no power supplied from the school. They used their own small generators using makeshift and unsafe wiring and they supplement with kerosene lanterns. The other two quarters only had kerosene lanterns. The dormitory also used kerosene lanterns.

Prior to solar the school generator ran for an average of 2 hours during or after school each day when the teachers did photocopying, charged laptops etc. Recently they had also increased night use by running multiple extension cords to the quarters (certainly a less than safe practice particularly in rainy periods). Considering fuel consumption at the time of installation the estimated annual fuel saving is approximately $3000 per year.

The school recently received 5 new desktop computers and 20 XO laptops — all available for 24 hour power in 2016.

This 3000W system installed October 2015 includes: 12 x Yingli 250 solar panels, 1 x SMA SB3000TL grid Inverter, 1 x SMA SI4.4M remote inverter, 6 x Aquion S20P batteries, 1 x Clenergy ground mounting system. Most tube lighting removed and replaced with LED globes. 4 teachers’ quarters and the dormitory had new wiring installed. The fifth quarter was unoccupied awaiting refurbishment, wiring will be included at that time. The school office was also wired.

The project was funded by the Fiji Water Foundation. The project was completed Oct. 2015.

For all equipment and service supporters please visit: supporters

 

Dawara Primary School

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Location: Dawara, Vanua Levu, Fiji
Search Google maps: Dawara Fiji

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50 students and 4 teachers providing classes from Year 1 to 8. 4 good condition teachers’ quarters are on the school grounds.

The school has a disproportionately large generator that runs on a needs basis during the daytime and 2 hours each night supplying teachers’ quarters.

Fuel, kerosene and transport of the fuel saved will exceed $3500 per year. The teachers are excited about what new equipment this opportunity will bring to the school.

This 2500W system installed October 2015 includes: 10 x Yingli 250 solar panels, 1 x SMA SB3000TL grid Inverter, 1 x SMA SI4.4M remote inverter, 4 x Aquion S20P batteries, 1 x Clenergy ground mounting system. Most tube lighting removed and replaced with LED globes. Some general electrical repairs were conducted.

The project was funded by the Fiji Water Foundation. The project was completed Oct. 2015.

For all equipment and service supporters please visit: supporters

 

South Taveuni High School

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Location: South Taveuni , Fiji
Search Google maps: Taveuni Fiji

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187 students with 14 teachers providing classes from Year 9 to11. The school is moving toward a total enrolment of 300 in the coming years. There are 14 teachers’ quarters (inc. primary), one of which is a larger building housing several teachers that share central facilities in the building.

The school and teachers’ quarters were receiving power from the school generator from 7 pm to 10 pm daily. Daytime generator use is on a needs basis that is increasing as the school focuses on digital education.

We trailed the option of including the large adjacent primary school (300 students and additional teachers quarters). That configuration can cope with daytime demand, but with limited capacity for expanded load, It is not sufficient for all the collective evening loads of the quarters and night study so the generator is required for some periods in the evenings. We are assessing the situation with the long term objective of increasing system capacity to meet the collective needs of the two schools.

With the system currently supplying all the daytime power for the two schools and early evening power we estimate in excess of $6000 annual fuel saving. Because the system was installed close to the end of the school term it will not be until March 2016 that we can deliver a more confident response about performance and savings.

This 5500W system installed November 2015 includes: 22 x Yingli 250W panels, 1 x SMA SB5000TL grid Inverter, 1 x SMA SI5048 remote inverter, 16 x Aquion S20P batteries, 1 x Clenergy ground mounting system. Most tube lighting removed and replaced with LED globes.

Unfortunately the main set of photos of South Taveuni (on the day the project concluded) failed due to a corrupt SD card identified after leaving the site. A new set images including batteries, inverters and more kids will be gathered when we are next in the area.

The project was funded by the Fiji Water Foundation. The project was completed Nov. 2015.

For all equipment and service supporters please visit: supporters

 

Yasayasa Moala College and Naroi District School

Images are to follow.

Location: Moala Island , Fiji
Search Google maps: Moala Island Fiji

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This is a single project supplying both Yasayasa Moala College (High School) and Naroi District School. Yasayasa Moala College has 106 students and 15 teachers providing classes from Year 9 to12 and a vocational class for carpentry and joinery. Naroi District School has 97 students and 5 teachers providing classes from Kindergarten to Year 8.

There are a total of 15 teachers’ quarters at the school. 3 dormitories house 50 students from Vunuku, Nasoki, Keteira, Cakova, Maloku, Nuku and Vadra.

The school and teachers’ quarters were receiving power from the school generator from 6 pm to10 pm daily. Daytime power was limited to 4 hours per day for only 3 to 4 days per week.

Because the system was installed after the school term it will not be until March 2016 that can deliver a more confident response about performance and savings. Although we expect the system to supply majority or all of power needs and produce a saving in excess of $9,000 per year.

This 6000W system installed December 2015 includes: 24 x Yingli 250W panels, 1 x SMA SB5000TL grid Inverter, 1 x SMA SI5048 remote inverter, 12 x Aquion S20P batteries, 1 x Clenergy ground mounting system. Installed electrical wiring in the administration building, library, 1 teachers’ quarters, dormitories, dining room and cooking room.

The project was funded by the Fiji Water Foundation. The project was completed Dec. 2015.

For all equipment and service supporters please visit: supporters

 

Salia Levu Primary School

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Location: Taveuni Island, Fiji
Search Google maps: Navakawau Taveuni

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Salia Levu has 37 students. 3 teachers provide classes from years 1 to 8. 3 teachers’ quarters are in the school precinct.

The school has a small diesel generator that would run during school days on a needs basis. It also runs for an average of three hours in the evenings to supply the teachers’ quarters. Otherwise and when fuel is low the teachers use kerosene lanterns.

The savings on fuel, kerosene and transport costs is approximately $3200 per year that will be used to promote computer learning at the school. At the time of installation the school received 17 electronic tablets.

System components: 8 x 250W Yingli solar panels, SB3000TL and SI3.3 SMA inverters, 4 x Aquion Energy S30 battery stacks, Clenergy Solar Terrace III ground mountings.

The project was funded by the Rotary Club of Taveuni, the Middendorp Foundation, the Whitelaw family, PREVIOUSNEXT and a range of other donors in 2015 — you know who you are and the kids say thank you. The project was completed Nov. 2015.

For all equipment and service supporters please visit: supporters

 

Wainimakutu High and Primary School.

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Click for pictures Prime Minister opening.
Click for video Prime Minister opening.

Location: Viti Levu.
Google Maps search: Wainimakatu, Fiji (note it’s spelt differently on Google, in Earth view scroll NW about 1 km and the school is beside the road)

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Fourteen teachers provide classes for 140 students from Year 8 to 12 in the high school and 5 teachers provide classes for 80 students in the primary school. The school draws students from the surrounding district, many walk long distances each day to get to school. Up to 40 students board at the school’s two dormitories. Eighteen teachers quarters are located in the school compound (three of those are currently under construction).

This community is even lower income than many we see, so the school generator is carefully limited to three or four hours per week in the daytime, that includes supply to the computer classes that began in 2013. The generator also runs for three to four hours each evening for night study and to supply the teachers’ quarters.

In 2012 the school installed five computers and commenced computer classes for senior years. Whilst a major milestone in the schools’ development, these classes were limited to daytime generator availability and evenings.

The all day power from the solar system will make a major difference at Wainimakutu — they will immediately expand their computer classes which are particularly important for senior secondary students.

Estimated savings that will be devoted to education is $9000 per year.

System components: 20 x 235W Q CELLS solar panels, SB5000 and SI8.0H SMA Inverters, 4 x SB1802 1350Ah PowerStack battery banks, Clenergy Solar Terrace II ground mountings.

Thanks to primary funding by the FIJI Water Foundation and support from our equipment and service sponsors the project was completed on the 26th of September 2013.

For all equipment and service supporters please visit: supporters

Namamanuca Primary School

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Location: Yanuya Island, Fiji.
Google Maps search: Yanuya Island (the school is the red roofed buildings)

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Seven teachers provide classes for 141 students from Year 1 to 8. The school draws students from the village and nearby islands. 25 students board at the school’s two dormitories during the week. Seven teachers quarters are located in the school compound.

The school generator delivers a couple of hours power during the day on a needs basis — like most schools that means turning the generator for carefully monitored period so as to keep cost to a minimum. The generator run for an average of four hours each evening to supply power to the teachers quarters and boarding houses. Otherwise the teachers and boarders use kerosene lamps for lighting.

There were all sorts of ways we raised money for projects, usually a major event or a sponsor is the primary contributor. Not in this case and it is very special because the contributions are so diverse. They include donation boxes at Denarau Marina Fiji, Lulus Cafe Fiji, Eastie Beach Cafe Corrimal and Budget Pharmacy Fiji, the crazy principal at Mt Austin school who raffles herself each month to cover another teacher’s class, Tokoriki Resort guests, the group of people making regular donations, Michael’s winnings from a poker game, the walk-a-thon mob, TGA happy hour, Claremont College kids, Greens Rugby Club grand final bash, instead of flowers at Marie’s funeral and all the others who have contributed — you know who you are.

A special thank you to Tokoriki Island Resort (http://www.tokoriki.com/). On the day of opening this project, the owner of Tokoriki pledged to add dollar for dollar to the school’s fuel savings

System components: 4600W solar panel array, SB5000 and SI6.0H SMA Inverters, 4 x SB1800 600Ah PowerStack battery banks, Clenergy Solar Terrace II ground mountings, VIRIBRIGHT LEDs.

Natusara Primary School

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Location: Ono Island, Fiji.
Google Maps search: Ono Island Kadavu

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The school is on Ono Island in the Kadavu group. Five teachers provides classes for 56 students. The school draws students from the nearby islands and villages. Most students board at the school’s two boarding houses. There are five teachers quarters housing the teachers and their families.

The school has a generator that runs in the evenings from 6 to 9 PM to supply teachers quarters, night study and for the teachers to do photocopying and other services requiring electricity.

System components: 10 x QCELLS 235W Solar Panels, SB3000 and SI6.0H SMA Inverters, 4 x SB1800 600Ah PowerStack battery banks, Clenergy roof mounting system, VIRIBRIGHT LEDs.

Lavena Primary School

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Location: Island of Taveuni.
Google Maps search: Lavena, Northern Division, Fiji

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Four teachers provide classes for 106 students from Year 1 to 8. The school draws students from the local village. Four teachers quarters are located in the school compound. The school generator is used for very limited periods during the day for school office needs. The school does not have computers for student use — this solar system will create the opportunity for the school to step into the age of computer education; due both to the access to plentiful power and the money saved to buy computers.

The generator runs for four hours each night to supply power to the teachers’ quarters and to the school for night study.

System components: 12 x 235W Q CELLS solar panels, SB3000 and SI6.0H SMA Inverters, 4 x SB1800 600Ah PowerStack battery banks, Clenergy roof mounting system.

Unfortunately the wiring at the school is incomplete and unsafe so we are rewiring the school and teachers’ quarters. Thanks to the generous support of several electrical suppliers we are getting the materials at an incredibly low price.

Savings on fuel and travel to get the fuel is approximately $3400 per year.

Thanks to the primary funding support of Art Building Children’s Dreams (Australia), Rotary Club of Templestowe, The Rotary Club of Manningham, Deakin University Global Citizenship Program; and our equipment sponsors, the project was completed 15 October 2013.

Kioa Island Primary

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Location: North Eastern Fijian Islands
Google maps search: Kioa Island
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Kioa Island Primary School has five teachers providing classes for 106 students from kindergarten to year 8. After year 8 the students either finish school or they board on the larger island of Taveuni to continue their education.

Before the solar system the school’s highly valued electrical equipment included three computers, one printer, a photocopier, PA system and laminator. Limited daytime power to the school was supplied by a small old generator or another larger one that often required costly repair. The school has night power supplied by the village generator that runs for three to four hours in the evenings. Therefore power storage need (batteries) is less than is other schools who need power for night study and/or teachers quarters.

The school now has a 1400W solar system (8 Silex panels, 6 Powerstack batteries, 2 SMA inverters supported by high wind resistant Clenergy mounting systems). That exceeds the schools current needs and will cater well for significant growth in the school’s power demand.

We predict that their new solar system will deliver a fuel saving that increases teaching resources by approximately $2000 per year.

A laptop and camera were provided for both learning and to help students share their learning experiences with overseas schools. Also, a data projector so the computing experience can be shared by a whole class. The projector will also be used to show movies once a week for villagers and create an additional small cash flow for the school to pay for their internet usage. Thanks to the generous support of two Australian schools they have large supply of movies.

Since the solar system was installed the school has now gained six new computers and 17 tablets and computer classes have started. A teachers put one computer aside and every student in the two older classes unpacked the computer from the box; set it up; opened applications; shut it down and repacked it. That was so all students are familiar with these basics — so important as many of these kids have not touched a keyboard before.

Installation October 2011

Navatu High School

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Location: North Eastern Fijian Islands

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Seventeen teachers provide classes for 220 students. The students are drawn from nearby village primary schools. Approximately 45 students live too far to walk to school so they board during the week and go home on the weekends.

Eleven teachers quarters are located in the school compound. Before the solar system the school’s highly valued electrical equipment includes a photocopier, two desktop computers, one laptop, one printer and a duplicating machine. Also equipment for physics and chemistry experiments and various power tools in the woodwork room. Not a great deal of equipment compared to developed countries, but they do get great value from it.

Before the solar system the school accessed power from a generator that they could afford to run for three to four hours each day. The generator was carried away from the school on the longest power lead they had to avoid noise disrupting the students. A 2700W solar system (16 Silex panels, 2 x 1350 Ah Powerstack battery banks, 2 SMA inverters, high wind resistant Clenergy mounting systems). That well exceeds the school’s current needs and allows for growing amount of school equipment. As well as constant power and night study,the system will deliver a fuel saving that will increase teaching resources by more than $3000 per year.

It was our intention that the power stored in the battery bank would supply a major part of the evening power demand for four of the teachers’ quarters (at the time on the school power circuit), but due to a change in the electrical supply (new generator and rewiring/distribution of power to all the teachers quarters) the solar system will not provide this in the near future. We are developing a upgrade plan that will meet that objective.

The school is committed to learning about renewable energy and energy efficiency. The systems provide a hands-on opportunity to do this. A laptop, camera and internet access were provided to help students share their learning experiences with overseas schools. Also, a data projector so the computing and internet experience can be shared by a whole class. The projector will also be used to show movies once a week for villagers and create an additional small cash flow for the school to pay for their internet usage.

Installation September 2010

Rabi High School

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Location: North Eastern Fijian Islands
Google maps search: Rabi Island
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Rabi Island is inhabited by Banaban people. In the early 1900s their original home, Ocean Island, was taken over by the British to mine phosphate. After the second World War, due to the degradation of their island, they were relocated thousands of kilometres away to Rabi in the northern Fijian group. While they endured many hardships, a population of four thousand people live on Rabi today. Subsistence farming and fishing are the main occupations. Rabi has a primary school in each of the four villages and a central high school at Tabiang.

Parents place great importance on the education. Some families, from the more distant village, leave their homes for the school term and build makeshift housing on land near the school. Then fish and do other jobs so their children can attend high school.

Rabi High School has two-hundred and eighty students and twenty-three teachers. Classes are from years seven to eleven. There are five teachers’ residences within the school grounds.

Prior to the solar system a diesel generator supplied power for office equipment, computer and woodwork classes. In the evenings the generator ran from six to ten to supply power to the teachers’ residences. Four nights each week the lights in the school are powered so the children can do night study because many homes don’t have sufficient lighting. There were periods when the school had no power simply because the price of fuel was too high and they didn’t have the funds available (makes the computer sciences classes a challenge!).

Rabi High School now enjoys constant daytime power for computers, office equipment and the PA system. The larger equipment in the woodwork room requires the generator to be started for short periods. Teachers’ residences still have power access from six to ten pm, with the generator only used for limited periods to supplement their needs.

An added benefit is that the inverter now protects the school computers and other equipment from damage. The generator was delivering ‘spiky’ power that damaged the computers.

Rabi High School is saving over $7000 per year that is now spent on books, software, they built fume cupboards in the science room, are buying documentary DVDs and other resources. That is a big deal when the average family income is less than $100 per month. The system will also save as much as 150 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

The project was installed July 2008.

Others

We have engaged in five other smaller projects in the Soloman Islands and also some small solar lighting projects. While these projects are delivering good outcomes they are not templates for future projects. Future projects will be of varying size, but similar configurations to the above examples.