Belize School Solar Power Project

Spring Break 2018

March 6-15

A partnership of:

  • Kenyon Department of Mathematics and Statistics
  • Kenyon Environmental Studies Program
  • Kenyon Center for Global Engagement


Live Solar Data from Belize


Live data feed showing power being generated at current sites. May take a while to load.

GirlsRoof.JPGGirlsRoof2.JPG Faith.JPG Installing.JPG

March 2018 Spring Break Trip

This spring break (2018) Professor Robert Alexander and Professor James Skon will be taking a team of students to Belize to work on building Grid-Tie Solar Systems for several schools. This service project will include learning about solar power systems, working with Belize schools, and seeing Belize and experiencing it's culture, environment, history, and people. We will be taking up to 12 Kenyon students.

Trip Application Form

Slide Show: KenyonSolarProject2017.pptx

Trip blog is here.

Project Preparation Schedule

Date Time Location Activity
Sept 11,2017 5:30-7:00pm PRCL21 (Pierce lower Level meeting room) Informational meeting for anyone interested in project
Sept 12,2017 5:30-7:00pm PRCL21 (Pierce lower Level meeting room) Informational meeting for anyone interested in project
Nov 6, 2017   Application Web Link
Deposit: Center for Global Engagement
Application due
Nov 9, 2017 6:00pm   Student accepted will be notified
Nov 14, 2017 5:30-7:00pm PRCL09 (Pierce lower Level computer Lab) Required Training
Nov 28, 2017 5:30-7:00pm PRCL21 (Pierce lower Level meeting room) Required Training
Dec 4, 2017   Center for Global Engagement $700 Due
Feb 2, 2018   Center for Global Engagement Balance Due (TBD)
Feb 6, 2018 5:30-7:00pm PRCL21 (Pierce lower Level meeting room) Required Training
Feb 20, 2018 5:30-7:00pm PRCL21 (Pierce lower Level meeting room) Required Training

Project Schedule 2018 (Proposed)

Date Activity Location Lodging
Tues Mar 6 Flight, drive to San Ignacio San Ignacio Log Cabin Inn
Wed Mar 7 Alvin Young High School
Succotz, San Ignacio Log Cabin Inn
Thur Mar 8 Belmopan Baptist High School
Drive to Toledo
Belmopan -> Toledo Toledo Christian Academy
Fri Mar 9 San Francisco Jeronimo RC School Pueblo Viejo Home Stay, Aguacate
Sat Mar 10 Aguacate RC Primary School Aguacate Belmopan Area?
Sun Mar 11 Blue hole, to Ambergris Caye Caya, then Ambergris Caye Sandbar
Mon Mar 12 Belize Holiday: Brighter Tomorrow Panel mount?, Fun! San Pedro Sandbar
Tue Mar 13 New Horizons San Pedro Sandbar
Wed Mar 14 San Pedro High School San Pedro Sandbar
Thur Mar 15 Flight home    

Last meeting notes:

  1. Get phone numbers
  2. confirm special travel arrangements
  3. talk about meeting time and where.
  4. vaccination status
  5. packing questions

Important Numbers

  • Jim Skon - USA: 740-358-9417, Belize: 011-501-621-7841Important Phone Numbers
  • Rob Alexander - USA: 434-941-9575, Belize: 011-501-628-4293
  • Center for Global Engagement - Marne-740-501-0269, Meghan Mason 330-612-1717

FaithRoof.JPG Carrying.JPG PanelCarryRoof.JPG PowerConverters.JPG

Belize Information:

Flight Information (American Airlines)

Flight Date Depart Arrive FromSorted ascending To
1419O 15 MAR 11:45A 3:50P Belize MIA
3632O 06 MAR 6:53A 9:40A CMH MIA
2454O 06 MAR 12:30P 1:51P MIA Belize
3458O 15 MAR 7:30P 10:21P MIA CMH

Departure and arrival information

  • You will need to fill out a spring break housing form is you need to stay on campus any days before or after the trip (March 6 and March 15 are likely). If your dorm is closed you will need to find a friend with an open dorm.
  • Be waiting, in front of the post office by 3:15am sharp. We will load and leave at 3:30am sharp.
  • We will likely return to campus around midnight on March 15. It may be later.
  • Alternatively you may get to the airport on your own by 5:00am. You may also have someone pick you up at the airport at 10:30-10:00pm. I will need to know if you plan to do either.

Packing List

Click Here for Packing List

CaitlanKids.jpg FIsh.jpg GirlsBelize.JPG Snorkle.jpg

Application to Participate

  • We have room for twelve (12) students on this trip. If you wish to participate you will need to apply by November 6
  • Those selected will be notified by November 13.
  • The cost of the trip is $2200 (the application fee counts as part of this). $700 Due by December 15. The balance is due February 15.
  • In addition up to 6 alternates will be selected. If you change your mind, or do not pay your $100 application fee, your slot will pass to the next alternate. It is likely at least some alternates will get to go, so don't give up if you aren't selected on the first round.
  • Application Link
HannaWithChildren.JPG SKonBelize.JPG DockJunp.JPG Eating.JPG

Training and Prep Meeting

  • There will be 4 required evening training and preparation meetings during January and February.

Work Safety Best Practices

This project involves work activities that are inherently dangerous. These activities include the use of hand and power tools, working with DC and AC electrical systems, using ladders, and working on roofs. Any person not exercising best practices in these activities will increase the possibility of injury to others and themselves. Therefore all people engaging in these activities are required to know, and practice, best practices to minimize the possibility of accidents. Any person who does not learn and practice these principals will be excluded from these activities.

During the training sessions we will discuss and review the following practices. We will role play to help learn the methods.

  1. Use of ladders: OSHA List
  2. Roof top work:
  3. Electrical Work: Best Practices
  4. Hand and Power Tools

Panel mounting


Passport and Visas
  • US Citizens: A passort is required. If you do not have one you must apply by the end of November. No visa is needed.
  • Non-US Citizens. You will need a US multi-entry visa attached to you non-US passport. Belize will recognize this in place of a US passport.

Grid Tie Solar Power Systems

Power is expensive in Belize, and schools struggle to pay for the electricity used by their computer labs (it's about the only thing they use power for). After installing computer labs for many years, we decided to explore solar power for schools to reduce their power expenses.

A list of current solar installations constructed under this program in Belize can be found here.

What we do is build "Grid-Tie Solar Systems". What this means is that we generate electricity for the school that reduces the amount of electricity that must be purchased from the electric company. How does it work?

  • The sun shines on the solar panels generating DC electricity
  • The DC electricity is fed into a solar inverter that converts it to 120V 60Hz AC electricity.
  • The 120V AC electricity is used to power appliances in the school.
  • Surplus electricity is fed back into the main grid. (as allowed)
Whenever the sun shines (and even in overcast weather), the solar cells generate electricity. The grid connect inverter converts the DC electricity produced by the solar panels into 120V AC electricity, which can then be used by the school.

If a grid connect system is producing more power than is being consumed, the surplus is fed into the mains power grid. Some electricity companies will meter the electricity fed into the grid by the system and provide a credit on the bill.

When the solar cells are not producing power, for example at night, the power is supplied by the mains power grid as usual. The energy retailer charges the usual rate for the power used.

Kenyon.JPG LisaChildren.JPG TeagelaignChildren.JPG SatinajaRoof.JPG


The trip cost is $2200 per person. The cost will include all transportation to and in Belize, lodging, all meals, and cost of planned activities in Belize (Such as the river boat cruse).


Last First Email 2/6 Passport
Skon James X x X
Swaim Lisa X x X
Bornstein Sage X x X
Alexander Robert X x X
Wolf Samuel X
Kennedy Caitlin X x
McDonald Carly X
Russell Sammy X x
Haden Paige X x
Stolle-McAllister Georgia X x
VanMeter Jennie X
O’Malley Jackie X x
Petrich Hannah X x
Berejka Ben X
Criss Emily X x
Karl Douglas X
Morton William X
Paige Haden <>,
Jennie VanMeter <>,
Sammy Russell <>,
Sage Bornstein <>,
Emily Criss <>,
Georgia Stolle-McAllister <>,
Hannah Petrich <>,
Carly McDonald <>,
Samuel Wolf <>,
Caitlin Kennedy <>,
Ben Berejka <>,
Jackie O'Malley <>,
Robert Alexander <>,
Doug Karl <>,
Lisa Swaim <>,
James Skon <>,

RiverGirls.JPGLizerd.JPG Monkey.JPG TeamBelize.JPG X.JPG

GirlPanels.jpg roofCorrazol.JPG lift.jpg RobElectonics.JPG


Panel Sources

FastFood.JPG JimLamani.JPG



-- Jim Skon - 2016-10-26


Faculty Visit

Topic attachments
I Attachment History Action Size Date Who Comment
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JPEGjpg lift.jpg r2 r1 manage 167.7 K 2017-09-07 - 20:57 JimSkon  
JPEGJPG roofCorrazol.JPG r1 manage 47.7 K 2017-09-07 - 20:57 JimSkon  
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Topic revision: r27 - 2018-03-05 - JimSkon
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