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The story of Solar for East

Lighting up classrooms - and imaginations!

A proverbial ‘light bulb moment’ struck student Raghav Shukla (Class of ‘15) when working on his Grade 5 expo project on sustainability: why couldn’t we bring to life the UWC vision of creating a more sustainable world by using solar energy to reduce the College’s own carbon footprint?

One student’s brainwave inspired UWCSEA’s whole solar programme.

In 2012 Raghav contacted the Facilities Department to discuss his ideas. Countless hours were spent refining and tailoring his plans, and in May 2013 he presented a detailed proposal to the Facilities Committee. The atmosphere was electric - the team was excited, heads were nodding, hands were shaken - Raghav’s ambitious plan was approved.

Solar for Dover launched in 2014 - with the massive goal of installing 1642 solar panels across two buildings. Just a few years into the programme and 626 have already been installed - reducing CO2 emissions by 70 tons per year and ensuring that 82 classrooms now lit with clean solar energy.  There are another 1016 solar panels required to complete the next phase on Dover by 2021.  Students on East were caught up in the excitement too - why not expand the programme to East, helping to reduce further the carbon footprint of a campus already built to high sustainability standards?

Solar for East was born. 

In early September 2017 the Grade 9 students sat down, along with the Facilities Department, to explore how best to launch the solar initiative at East. With an enormous amount of hard work and long hours, powered by passion, fuelled by Santai cinnamon rolls, finally a detailed proposal to instal 1130 solar panels was developed. In November 2017 the Solar for East team were ready to present to the Board - their excitement was clearly contagious, for in January 2018 the Board signed it off for immediate roll out.
 

 

“It is thrilling to see the impact a group of students can make first-hand, and feel the support from the community in achieving our goal of sustainable development.”
Brooke, Solar for East, Grade 10