Belize School Solar Power Project

Spring Break 2019

March 5-14

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 2019 Spring Break Trip

This spring break (2019) 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 10 Kenyon students.

Trip Application Form

Slide Show: Here

Trip blog is here.

Project Preparation Schedule

Date Time Location Activity
Oct 4,2018 6:00-7:00pm Pierce upper room Informational meeting for anyone interested in project
Sept 8,2018 6:00-7:00pm Pierce lower level meeting room Informational meeting for anyone interested in project
Nov 9, 2018   Application Web Link
Deposit: Center for Global Engagement
Application due
Januay 23, 2019 5:30-7:00pm PRCL21 (Pierce lower Level meeting room) Required Training
Dec 20, 2018   Center for Global Engagement $700 Due
January 30, 2019   Center for Global Engagement Balance Due (TBD)
Feb 6, 2019 5:30-7:00pm PRCL21 (Pierce lower Level meeting room) Required Training
Feb 27, 2019 5:30-7:00pm PRCL21 (Pierce lower Level meeting room) Required Training

Project Schedule 2019 (Proposed)

Date Activity Other Location Lodging
Tuesday March 5 Flight San Ignacio Log Cab-Inn
Wednesday March 6 Sacred Heart High School San Ignacio Log Cab-Inn
Thursday March 7 Mount Carmel High School Xunantunich Benque Belmopan
Friday March 8 Light of the Valley Baptist School To Orangewalk Steadfast Community, Stann Creek Orangewalk
Saturday March 9 Guinea Grass RC School OrangeWalk Orangewalk
Sunday March 10 Lamanai To San Pedro San Pedro Sand Bar
Monday March 11 New Horizons School San Pedro Sand Bar
Tuesday March 12 ACES San Pedro Sand Bar
Wednesday March 13 Free, Snorkel San Pedro

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 From To
United 3443 05 MAR 6:15am 6:49am CMH ORD
United 1150 05 MAR 9:04am 1:15pm ORD Belize
Delta 695 14 MAR 12:25pm 5:23pm Belize ATL
Delta 792 14 MAR 8:57pm 10:35pm ATL 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.

<a name="WorkBestPractices"></a>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

Solar Installation Manual

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




-- Jim Skon - 2016-10-26


Faculty Visit

Topic attachments
I Attachment History Action Size Date Who Comment
PDFpdf Solar_Manual.pdf r1 manage 2009.3 K 2019-02-06 - 22:00 JimSkon  
PDFpdf packinglist.pdf r2 r1 manage 143.5 K 2019-02-06 - 22:39 JimSkon  
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