By Analy Lopez, Choque 6th Course A at Sagrado Corazón 4, Bolivia
My educational unit "Sagrado Corazón 4" has greatly benefitted from the implementation of solar panels thanks to the funds that our high school won from the Zayed Sustainability Prize, and my school is much better for having won the Prize. The project that we developed facilitated energy savings, because during the day we took advantage of the solar energy and electrical energy at night.
Also, students from the first to sixth grades of secondary school continue to take advantage of this energy in agroecology since the installed motors allow rainwater to be harvested and used to irrigate school gardens.
Another benefit of having participated in this great project is that our young students receive solar lanterns that are recharged by sunlight, thus giving clean energy to 450 students of the Sagrado Corazón 4 school where, in many homes, there are days when there is no electricity available to us due to power cuts in the rural area that we live in, but these lanterns are powered by harvesting solar energy so we no longer need to rely on an unpredictable power supply.
This Zayed Sustainability Prize is now greatly admired by many communities in Santa Cruz because of the harvesting of water involved in our project. The communities can see that water is no longer wasted, and it goes straight to our orchards from the storage facility to the sprinkler irrigation system with the help of the solar energy system.
Sagrado Corazón 4 has benefitted so much from the harvest of solar energy. It has greatly supported student learning since solar energy is produced and consumed by the school only during the day.
Five years after the tech installation, the community and students report that they feel very proud to have this solar installation and to contribute to a more sustainable environment. Parents feel happy and proud as their children are raising awareness of the importance of using clean energy, and they represent their municipality well with everyone getting more involved. Our project has truly benefitted the entire community.
This project will bear many more fruits due to the high regards that the community holds for it. Since we are the only school that has solar panels and rainwater harvesting, it represents a unique event in the history of the school and for the young people who were part of it. This important chapter will remain engraved forever in the memories of our school community, and we hope that it will also motivate many more students to achieve their goals and to improve the planet Earth.