Several months before the November 2017 Graduation Celebration, the Maranyundo Initiative Board was wondering how they could mark this very special occasion with a gift. ‘How about solar panels?’ someone suggested.
The original plans for the new Library and STEM Learning Center included solar panels on the roof, but at the time, they were prohibitively expensive. However, as the cost of production has dipped over the passed few years, the time was ripe to take advantage. Solar had already proven itself on campus. The single panels installed last year on four separate buildings generated enough electricity to significantly reduce energy costs and paid for themselves within one year!
A small but mighty group of Maranyundo Initiative supporters gathered together to raise the funds for the purchase and installation. Board Chair, Daphne Petri, announced the gift in her speech at graduation and a card signed by everyone who supported the fundraiser was given to Sister Juvenal the following day.
The Government of Rwanda is targeting an ambitious goal to provide 70% of the population access to electricity over 2018 and to reach 100% access by 2020. The electrical grid is growing incredibly fast growth to support and expand this capacity, however power outages are still common and have been major hurtles for the school to overcome. This is especially true since the new Library and STEM Learning Center also houses the school’s wireless internet routers, so when the school has lost power in the past, students, teachers, and staff also loose their access to the internet.
With the solar panels now installed and completely operational, the school no longer has to rely solely on the power company for their electricity needs. Now the power of the sun is helping Maranyundo Girls School Shine Even Brighter!
Head of School, Sister Juvenal reports that the panels already generating enough off-grid electricity to fully power the Library and STEM Learning Center as well as the faculty house and Benebikira Sister’s residences. There is still excess capacity and she is working on extending coverage to other parts of the campus as well!
Rwanda is moving aggressively to support solar technology to address issues of pollution and increasing energy demands. With these panels, Maranyundo Girls School not only joins in this effort but also can become a demonstration project for the region. As an added bonus, educational displays will be installed to demonstrate the technology in real time, showcasing the wonder of science and the transformative potential of a STEM education!
Thank you to everyone who supported this very important campaign!