Simon recommends that schools’ a/c systems be tied into use of solar energy to reduce both costs and pollution

MP Kelvin Simon continues to raise concerns about the impact of the extreme
heat on students’ health and performance in the classroom.

Accordingly, he is urging the Browne Administration to “innovate and not just
update” by introducing solar energy on a large scale to address the effects of
climate change.

The Cabinet recently announced that the government schools would undergo
infrastructural upgrades to facilitate new air conditioners.
However, MP Simon notes that the upgrades do not incorporate the use of
solar energy and he is asking why.

The St. Mary’s South representative believes that serious efforts ought to be
made to introduce sustainable and renewable energy and to manage costs and
resources more effectively.

Accordingly, he is inquiring into the status of solar panels that were installed
at the Antigua Grammar School, Antigua Girls High School, and Ottos
Comprehensive School several years ago.

According to Simon, a long-term strategy is required to address climate
control in classrooms, and it must include the use of solar energy.
He warns that the use of window air-conditioning units could worsen the
current challenges because of emissions and the inefficient use of energy.

Hence, he suggests that a comprehensive assessment is conducted to
determine the cost of fully air-conditioning school buildings using solar

“We need to assess the level of energy consumption in our schools and
determine the return on investment of including solar energy as part of a
comprehensive long-term energy plan,” Simon says.

“The cost savings generated can free up resources that can be reallocated to
other areas of the school operations and enhance the overall educational
experience for students,” he adds.

Meanwhile, the United Progressive Party MP refers to the installation of a/c
units at the Urlings Primary School more than eight months ago, in what was
widely seen as a gimmick ahead of the October 24, 2023 by-election in his

“These a/c units remain inoperable because the building lacks the electrical
capacity,” he says.

He recommends that, “instead of just rewiring the building, consideration
should be given to the installation of solar systems. These can be tied and
synchronized with the APUA grid, allowing for an automatic-supply
changeover to APUA, which will act as a backup supply.”

In addition to financial savings, Simon points to the importance of reducing
pollution and promoting sustainability and environmental consciousness in
the local community.

Coming out of the SIDS4 Conference, he believes that it is time for the
Administration to move beyond lip service and get serious about addressing
the impacts of climate change, especially as it relates to the future
development of the youth.