RVA decided to have an off grid photovoltaic solar system in order to be self sufficient at all times and to remain operational in the event of a central system electricity failure due to climate change related or other disasters.
The Academy can produce (17.5 kW x 4 hours =) 70 kWh and its using about 60 kWh per day on light, pumping water and to keep food refrigerated.
A 17.5 kW system has been installed with 70 solar panels and a battery bank of 120 batteries (which can hold about 156 kWh of energy). This means that the system can produce 17.5 kW per hour, if the sun shines with all its power for one hour. However, batteries are needed because the sun doesn’t shine all day long; some hours during the day it only shines 50%, due to clouds the time of the day or year. Some hours it only shines 10%. On average the sun only shines about 4 hours with full power per day.
Solar water heaters
Less than 3% of the energy in the Caribbean comes from renewable sources. e main obstacle preventing people converting to renewable energy is nancing. In St. Vincent, there is a company that gives credit which made it economically viable for RVA to invest in solar water heaters - thus reducing its energy bill and carbon footprint.
Water heating accounts for up to 25% of the energy used in a typical household in the Caribbean.
There are 6 solar water heaters at RVA, the kitchen and most of the bathrooms have hot water sourced from solar energy. A solar water heater works with room temperature water that flows from the water tank to the solar collector.
At the collector, it is heated up and then returned to the hot water tank. Hot water is then drawn on demand from the tank to the showers and sinks at the kitchen and showers.