A science and technology revolution is in store for Cave Hill, which is designed to transform the campus environment into a Renewable Energy Technology Demonstration Centre. The aim is to illustrate solar, wind and other renewable energy sources in action by highlighting practical applications of renewable energy technologies while continuing to promote public awareness and educate local communities on these technologies and energy-efficiency measures.
With an enrollment of over 8 000 which makes it perhaps the site with the highest population density on a weekday basis, the university is ideal for demonstrating the value of renewable energy. As part of its energy efficiency drive, it will undertake the following projects:
- Lighting of the campus's two bus stations using solar photovoltaic panels
- Solar photovoltaic powered lighting of student gazebos
- Replacing compact fluorescent with Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) in classroom
- Security lights for the Commercial Analytical Lab
- Implementation of renewable energy street lights on campus
- Implement systems to improve energy efficiency focusing mainly on air-conditioning
- Utilize the Physics Lab to display small renewable energy models and posters
- Offer renewable energy-related programmes at certificate and Master's levels
These initiatives are in keeping with the campus' commitment to use renewable energy sources and the fact that for almost 25 years the Faculty of Pure and Applied Sciences has continually been involved in the development, transfer and practical application of renewable energy technologies.
Cave Hill is currently collaborating with various overseas universities on renewable energy initiatives and is involved in an international project spearheaded by the Small Developing Island Renewable Energy Transfer project (DIREKT) which is funded by the ACP Science and Technology Programme; an EU programme to enhance cooperation between the European Union and the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) region.
Natasha Corbin, Barbados Project Manager of DIREKT (Barbados component) says this international collaboration has enabled UWI to host renewable energy workshops and foster partnerships with regional businesses and universities in other small-island states that face similar development problems to Barbados. The general objective of the project is to strengthen the partner's science and technology capacity in renewable energy by means of technology transfer, information exchange and networking.
"It is expected that through this effort avenues will be created for jobs and internship opportunities for UWI graduates," Corbin added, noting that recently, the Cave Hill Campus Renewable Energy group (SOLPROM) joined force with the Barbados Renewable Energy Association (BREA) to propel the industry.
UWI also plans to work with Barbados National Oil Company (BNOC), in association with the Solar Institutes, to execute three accredited certificate training programmes: Solar Training – Solar Electric Design and Installation (Grid-DIREKT); Solar Training – Grid Direct Design and the NEC (National Electrical Code); and Solar Training – Battery Based Design.
Corbin anticipates that within the next five years most households will have some form of renewable energy or energy efficiency system in place that reduces the cost of electricity. She notes that at present, the solar photovoltaic energy technology is much more affordable and expects that this cost will continue to decline with the creation of tax incentive programmes, the continuation of duty waivers on renewable products and the possible zero rate VAT on solar electric systems.
More information: cipore.org