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Aug 16, 2012

University of Belize Solar Energy dream, a reality

In September of last year the construction for a clean energy solar generation system started in Belmopan. The project was funded by the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), at a contract cost of ten million Belize dollars. The project, which impacts the entire country, seeks to reduce green house gases and produce a viable source of energy through the development of clean energy via solar generation. The media was called out for a tour of the facility and News Five was there.


Andrea Polanco, Reporting

The introduction of clean energy by solar electricity generation system is pretty new to Belize. This cordoned off section of the UB Campus in Belmopan, houses the initiative that seeks to tackle global warming.


Linda Jeal

Linda Jeal, Marubeni Protech Corporation

“The advantages of this project is that one, it is extremely environmentally friendly. As you know we are having global warming. It may be a small system right now, but in the future it will have a huge benefit for the environment. Not only that, it is the first time a system of such a size is in Belize. It is new technology for Belizeans; many people don’t know about it and it is on a basic, simple state where you can understand it. The data that you will be able to receive from this project is as a learning tool so anybody can have access. So you will be able to monitor and see what’s going on. Belizeans can benefit because it will be a learning tool, it is an environmental tool and it is something that will hopefully in the longer run maybe reduce the cost of electricity for Belizeans; that all depends.”


It looks quite complex and that is because it is somewhat technical. It starts with these two thousand plus solar panels that absorb the sunlight and converts it to electrical energy. The panels are linked to five boxes and the energy is collected in a collector box and sent to the control room. The system is designed to convert direct current into alternating current which passes through the B.E.L. grid and into your homes as a form of clean, renewable energy.


Herman Charlesworth, Sub-Consultant for Nippon-Koei Co. Ltd

“The project’s install capacity is about four hundred and eighty kilowatt peak and basically it has two thousand six hundred and sixty four solar panels and it’s all designed to withstand a category three storm.  It generates D.C. Electricity and transfers it to power conditioners which converts the D.C. into A.C. and sends it into a transformer that steps it up and then goes into a switch gear which is something like for a simpler term, protection system, and from there it is distributed into the Belize Electricity Ltd grid at eleven thousand volts; so four hundred volts a/c goes in and eleven thousand volts a/c goes into B.E.L. grid and it’s their distribution line and from there it goes into the B.E.L. feeder and from there it goes to everybody.”


Herman Charlesworth

Andrea Polanco

“Alright; so its impact extends beyond U.B.; it is the entire country of Belize?”


Herman Charlesworth

“It is the entire country of Belize. It is small; it is only about point six of a percent of the energy that it will be providing to the country of Belize but point six of a percent is still something that should be considered.”


The heart of the system is the control house.


Linda Jeal

“Each connection box connects to the control house so it is from here that the direct current goes into the pc’s which the power conditioners are. It then goes to low distribution and to the transformer and steps it up to B.T.L. grid.   The beauty of what happens in here is that we have a dedicated line from B.T.L. which allows us to log the data. There is a system in there that logs each P.C. individually so you will be able to see how much each pc generates in electricity. You will be able to see the temperature reading and see all five P.C.’s together which will give you your total electricity for that day which is produced from the system. It also shows you if there is a fault so it will show you maybe one will shut down to protect the system.”


Preliminary testing of the facility shows how remarkably cost-effective it can be.


Herman Charlesworth

“This project here it has been running since August third in the testing phase and it has generated two thousand kilowatt hour daily; if you were using diesel plant, you will be using a hundred and thirty gallons of diesel for that same period to generate the same amount of electricity. Now you are getting free sunlight and it’s not costing you anything except for the initial outlay capital; initial input and because it is a grant we aren’t basically investing anything.”


Engineering students of U.B. are also experiencing the impact of this project on their campus.


Lindbergh Coleman

Lindbergh Coleman, Engineering Student, U.B.

“The main thing we covered is how solar energy is used to produce electricity from the radiant energy from the sun up to the electricity produced that is used on homes and people’s appliances.”


Daily operation and maintenance of the facility will be carried out by local experts. Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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2 Responses for “University of Belize Solar Energy dream, a reality”

  1. GSU commanding officer says:

    Anybody see the gyal dah back inna the brown pants? MAdda fyah

  2. Storm says:

    GSU, I like your eye for the news!

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