zNavatu High School

The Project

Location: North Eastern Fijian Islands

Map: Location Map

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.

11 teachers quarters are located in the school compound. 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 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 supported by 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 up to 15% percent. Over the next two decades, we expect the solar system to stop more than 80 tonnes of carbon dioxide entering the atmosphere.

It was our intention that the power stored in a large battery bank during the day will be used to supply a major amount of the evening power demand for a portion of the teachers’ quarters (that means more money can be diverted from fuel to education), but due to a change in the electrical supply (new generator) to all the teachers quarters the soalr 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. Thanks to the generous support of two Australian schools they have large supply of movies.