Cayman International School Flips the Switch to Solar Power with over 1,200 solar panels installed by Cayman Solar. May be the largest solar powered system at a K-12 school in the Caribbean

Earth Day April 22, 2017

When School Director Jeremy Moore – better known as Dr. Jeremy – flipped a switch on Earth Day 22 April, Cayman International School effectively became solar-powered.

The “flipping the switch” ceremony officially connected the newest 100 kW solar panel array in the Cayman Islands– 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 also added an additional 44 kW to the campus.

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 over 1,400 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 over 30 family homes every month,” says Johnson. “The campus as a whole is the second largest solar program in the Cayman Islands. The largest is of course the 5 megawatt solar farm in Bodden Town” Even though all of the electricity generated by the complex’s solar panels is being fed into the grid, Johnson says the school is basically using all of the solar power produced daily.

“It’s one of only a few truly solar-powered K-12 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, aluminum cans and cardboard. They then allowed parents and other students to walk around and visit 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 internalization of the concepts of sustainability.”

Originally published in May 2017 By Alan Markoff