THE USE OF SOLAR ENERGY IN LEARNING INSTITUTIONS

By David Mbori

I recently read about a firm dealing in fabrication of plastics saving up to Kshs 2.5M a month on electricity bills after installing one of the largest rooftop photo voltaic solar system in the country. The saving derived is about 15% to 20% of their total electricity cost. This clearly shows there is a big potential in energy cost saving by switching to solar.

Apart from the manufacturing sector, I believe our learning institutions stand to immensely benefit from energy savings if they can adopt the use of solar energy. Some of the benefit include the following-:

  • Reduction of electricity bill
  • Diverse application
  • Low maintenance cost of solar appliances
  • Technology development

Besides the above benefits, the use of solar energy will enable these learning institutions to run on clean energy, combat greenhouse gas emissions and global warming. It will also reduce dependence on out sourced fossil fuels and promote renewable energy use in surrounding areas. Solar is safe alternative which can replace current fossils like gas, firewood, coal etc.

Some facts about solar energy include-

  • Most abundant source (especially here in our country).
  • Cost of solar panels have fallen in recent years.
  • Solar energy is cheaper than other fossil fuels
  • Once installed the installations can last for 40 years and above with minimal maintenance cost.

Learning Institutions can be excellent application to solar energy also due to high water usage, favorable siting conditions and their strong internal facilities departments. These facilities can also explore grants and other funding channels to reap external benefit of renewable energy in education setting.

Another area where the solar energy is ideal is in the learning institutions is in the supply of water. i.e. use of solar water pumping. The photovoltaic array converts the energy into electricity which is used to power the motor pump set. The pumping system can draw water the source river, open well, borehole, pond etc. This system however, requires a shadow free area for installation of the solar panels.

We at Eenovators are anxious to partner with one or two learning institution to launch one solar project as a pilot scheme. I believe with proper planning and execution the envisaged project will succeed. This success can be replicated to other learning institutions across the region and the impact will be phenomenal! 


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