To address the needs facing schools in Dominica, Expedia Group, Construction for Change and Sextant Foundation will work together to provide solar power to six schools in Dominica. These schools – Castle Bruce, Atkinson Primary School, Atkinson Light House School, Sineku Primary School, Concord Primary School, and Salybia Primary School – were identified as high priority schools by Prime Minister Skerrit because they are located on the east coast of the island, where power has yet to be restored. Additionally, this area is home to the last remining indigenous population, the Kalinago Tribe, with the most at-risk youth.
Digicel Foundation has been rehabilitating each of the schools, ensuring that new roofs and structures are appropriately reinforced. An assessment of each facility has been completed. In the coming months, solar panels will be ordered, shipped and installed in preparation for the school year.
Expedia Group will provide the funding for the procurement and installation of the solar equipment on the six schools. Construction for Change will serve as the project manager for the completion of the project. Sextant Foundation will serve as the technical experts, and their volunteers will manage the installation
These solar installations will ensure a reliable, sustainable source of energy for the communities they serve. Each system will be individualized based on the individual needs of each school, but will also cover the critical load at each facility to carry out its essential functions. For example, in the event of another hurricane or natural disaster, if grid power is not available, these systems will keep the lights, fans, and refrigerators running, and allow local residents to power communication devices
End of July 2018: Materials ordered.
End of July 2018 – Middle of September 2018: Materials shipped to island and delivered to identified sites. Timely delivery of equipment will influence volunteer arrival, the date when installation can begin, and the project completion timeline.
Middle of September 2018 – Middle of October 2018: Equipment installation begins
In September 2017, a Category 5 Hurricane battered the island of Dominica. With 160mph winds Hurricane Maria resulted in loss of life and damage to critical infrastructure, including significant damage to many of the island’s schools. The storm rendered 99% of the island without power. As a result, students had their education and routines disrupted until January 2017, almost four months after the hurricane. Power has still not been restored to most of the east coast of the island. Therefore, students have been forced to travel long distances to different schools and attend at reduced schedules.
Now, months after Hurricane Maria made landfall, Dominica remains in urgent need of reliable and resilient power. With the east coast still without access to grid power, and the 2018 hurricane season beginning, there remains a widespread fear for lack of preparedness. Furthermore, with the potential for diesel shortages, landslides, and flooding, generators are not a reliable nor sustainable solution. Solar projects have been recognized as a potential means to restore vital electricity to critical facilities such as schools, that serve students year-round and become a place of refuge, hope and reassurance for their communities during an emergency.