New lease of life as school gets solar energy roofing tiles.

Power is essential in every homestead or facility.

At Gaitheri Secondary School, students and teachers are enjoying power from solar roofing tiles, that has seen the school cut down the cost of power in a reasonable way.

Initially, the school used to pay over Sh.100, 000 power bills per month but is now paying less than Sh.17,000. The school is aiming at reducing the cost of power to zero.

According to the students that we talked to, Gaitheri Secondary School was experiencing power problems because of the frequency power outages by Kenya Power, hence triggering the school to embark on ways of solving power problems.

Mr. Kamau Kiragu a teacher who takes the students through the energy process explains that using the power roofing tiles, it supplies 2.4 kilowatts of power that is able to operate all the machines in the school, computer lab with 15 computers, 8 classes, duplicator and other accessories that use power in the school.

He points out that the Solar panels are an added advantage which many schools aren’t able to apply, hence giving the school a chance to use power without billing.

Some of the challenges that the school went through while relying on Kenya Power is that
even duplicating continuous assessment tests was a problem.

“Being a new project at the school, some students and teachers have not yet bough the idea. We hope that as we progress by, majority will see the benefit of this and support us.” Said Mr. Kiragu.

However, the school feels that 2.4 kilowatts is not sufficient hence more plans to use water tanks as power storage.

Kiragu explains that water from the roof tops needs to be collected for the project of power storage to be complete.

The amount of water to be collected will amount to 600, 000 liters that will help a power storage system using pumped water storage system that will solve water system and power storage system.

Instead of using battery storage, the school looked into its advantage of having a water storage yet the big roof is not utilized, hence the idea of installing water storage still tanks.

The power will be stored through a pumped water storage system, that the school is not able to put up but looking forward to upgrade once it gets a financier.

The school also wishes to share the power and the water to the neighboring community once the entire project of power storage is complete.

The school participated in Zaid Energy Project for global schools where it became finalists in Africa in an event held at Abu Dhabi in Dubai.

During the Abu Dhabi sustainability week, Kiragu met a lecturer from Lancaster university in UK who got interested in the Kenyan school, and he eventually visited the school.

The lecturer taught the students on energy education and sustainability, data visualization, installed sensors, WIFI looters and now the students are able to come up with topics on energy sustainability.

Hellen Wambui Karuku is a member of Energy Conservation club in the school and she says that she has been instrumental in saving the power used in school and ensuring that no waste of power is occasioned.

She encouraged other schools to emulate the school terming the project as a savior of parents’ money in terms of power bills.

Jennifer Kimari is also a member of the club and she cites that she has improved in her studies since she can get to class earlier than before to study in the morning.

She adds that she can now be able to draw and analyze the graphs centrally to the days that the club was not in existence.

For John Macharia, he says he has improved his performance, thanks to the energy conservation club.
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