This project will support the functioning of our school by providing solar panels to generate 8000-8500 watts of energy yearly, to be used for heating and changing the reliance on the current heating system, thus being innovative and exemplary school in our area, as well as practically showcasing the benefits of sustainable energy to our students, teachers and the entire community!
Our school has a Language Resource Center (LRC) which is a unique asset in the region, and it is heavily used not only by many classes in our own school, but also by our community and other members within the region. During the winter, it is difficult to keep the entire school and LRC heated because our current gas heaters are old and inefficient, leaving students cold and unmotivated during classes while costing much to the school.
Many interviews and surveys have identified that inefficient heating is an issue that needs to be addressed, so a good way to deal with this issue is to begin by focusing on the classroom that the majority of classes and activities take place in. Throughout the duration of the project as well as afterwards, we will hold trainings and seminars for teachers and other community members about renewable energy and environmental protection. We also have already begun holding seminars at our school about these topics (renewable energy, sustainability, etc.) which will continue throughout the project and afterwards.
Staff at the school will be trained in the usage and benefits of the solar panels, and the staff (especially the school director) have demonstrated strong willingness to keep the project running and efficient without the additional support of Peace Corps. Students at the school will also be educated on the benefits of renewable energy and environmental skills they can use during their lifetimes. System maintenance costs will be provided by the school. Seminars and trainings will continue to be provided by staff from school #26 about renewable energy and environmentalism. As evidenced by the present state of the LRC, the staff at school #26 take great care of the new technology and innovations that are added to the school. This LRC is still in highly frequent use and utilization, and this attitude foreshadows the same future of the solar panels provided for the school. The LRC will also be the primary location for the trainings and seminars held. The solar panels will remain functioning and staff will remain educated about their usage and purpose as well as continuing to spread awareness of environmentalism throughout the community for years to come.
A local NGO in Armenia has also provided a minimum of a 3-year guarantee that the panels will work efficiently, during that time allowing the use of their workers to visit the school and fix any problems that may occur. In addition, the solar panels themselves come with a 25-year warranty if any problems arise, as well as warranties on the different types of equipment used for the entire project.
In conclusion, our school will seek in the future, through other sources, based on the successes of this proposed project, to have more solar-panels for turning the school into a fully self-sustainable energy system. This may be by adding more panels, but not through our Peace Corps Small Grants; rather entirely community-supported, and the school will simply further expand the project initiated by the PCV.