Project sparks in­ter­est in so­lar en­ergy

The Leader (Tasman) - - OUT & ABOUT - TIM O'CON­NELL

A group of En­ner Glynn School pupils have used their re­new­able en­ergy learn­ings to make life a lit­tle brighter for kids in Van­u­atu.

Eva Crane­field has been teach­ing her ex­ten­sion class of Year 4 to 6 pupilsabout re­new­able and non-re­new­able en­ergy sources through the So­larBuddy pro­gramme.

‘‘We se­lected these chil­dren for their pas­sion or em­pa­thy for help­ing oth­ers or their in­ter­est in sci­ence or lead­er­ship,’’ she said.

‘‘My job is to kind of ex­tend kids in some way and usu­ally I’ll look for an in­ter­est level – in this case I just heard about the project and thought our kids would love this.’’

So­larBuddy is an Aus­tralian­reg­is­tered char­ity whose mis­sion is to pro­vide safe and ef­fec­tive so­lar en­ergy to com­mu­ni­ties who suf­fer from the lim­it­ing ef­fects of en­ergy poverty.

As part of its Bud­dy2Buddy schools pro­gramme, the En­ner Glynn pupils were given the op­por­tu­nity to build a So­larBuddy light be­fore send­ing that light to a child in need, along with a per­sonal let­ter, in the vil­lage of Le­nakel on Tanna Is­land.

Crane­field said the lights, which pro­vided one hour of il­lu­mi­na­tion for ev­ery hour of so­lar en­ergy charged, would make life eas­ier, not to men­tion safer, in that part of the Pa­cific.

‘‘They have no elec­tric­ity at all, so the idea is that once dark comes they can still read and carry on learn­ing.’’

‘‘We try as much as we can to in­clude some kind of so­cial out­come - I’d like to think it could be an on­go­ing thing, be­cause it’s just mean­ing­ful learn­ing for them.’’

Spon­sor­ship to pur­chase the lights was se­cured through En­ner Glynn’s Friends of the School (FOS) group and lo­cal firm Glen Roberts Elec­tri­cal

Josh Roberts of Glen Roberts Elec­tri­cal was on hand to help put the lights to­gether last week and took ques­tions from the chil­dren about so­lar en­ergy and elec­tron­ics.

Once en­light­ened, the pupils were al­lo­cated their light kit to con­struct in pairs.

It was hoped that the lights would be sent over to Van­u­atu in July.

Roberts said the im­pe­tus for his com­pany’s in­volve­ment was to fur­ther peo­ple’s in­volve­ment in so­lar en­ergy, which he said was ‘‘a huge part of our fu­ture in­dus­try.’’

‘‘Any tech­nol­ogy im­prove­ment we can help with so that chil­dren are com­ing through with that knowl­edge al­ready would be huge, be­cause we are all go­ing to be us­ing it sooner rather than later,’’ he said.

PHOTO: BRADEN FASTIER/ FAIR­FAX NZ

Josh Roberts helps out Miguel, left, and Scar­lett at En­ner Glynn School for the So­lar Buddy project, which helps Pa­cific Is­land vil­lages with­out power by pro­vid­ing small so­lar pow­ered lights.

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