When School Director Jeremy Moore – better known as Dr. Jeremy – flipped a switch on 12 April, Cayman International School effectively became solar-powered.
The “flipping the switch” ceremony officially connected a 10 kW solar panel array – a project that began last summer – to the Caribbean Utilities Company grid. It coincided with the completion of the shade structure by the Camana Bay Sports Complex swimming pool, which was a 44 kW project.
Over the past three years across the entire complex that includes Cayman International School, the Arts & Recreation Centre and the Camana Bay Sports Complex, more than 1,200 solar panels capable of producing 2,000 kWh per day have been installed, says Ray Johnson, the project engineer with Cayman Solar, the company that did the work.
“That number of solar panels could provide enough energy to power 30 family homes for a month,” says Johnson. “The complex as a whole is the single largest solar programme in the Cayman Islands.” Even though all of the electricity generated by the complex’s solar panels is being fed into the grid, Johnson says the school was basically using solar power.
“It’s one of only a few solar-powered schools in the Caribbean.” The “flipping the switch” ceremony preceded the school’s second annual Grade 3 EarthFest, a project-based fair-like event that focuses on various aspects of sustainability.
EarthFest began with students talking about the significance of the “flipping the switch” ceremony, followed by the students singing a song while playing instruments made from waste products like plastic bottles, aluminium cans and cardboard. They then allowed parents and other students to walk around and visit the the project booths that were completed by groups of Grade 3 students.
“This is a very good example of project-based learning,” Dr. Jeremy says of the projects, which included one on solar energy. “It represents our kids deeply understanding the idea of sustainability. It’s not just a surface-level lesson, but a real internalisation of the concepts of sustainability.”