Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Solar Project at Small Hope

Four months ago, I expected my summer to be spent somewhere in the hustle and bustle of downtown Washington, DC, researching and writing memos on various environmental issues. It didn’t even occur to me that building a solar domestic hot water system in the Bahamas at a dive resort surrounded by mangroves and clear turquoise water was an option! I am glad I made the choice to trade in my metro card and suit for a bicycle and flip flops.

As August, and the end of my time with Small Hope Bay Lodge, approaches, I start to reflect on my experience here and all that has been accomplished. Working with Small Hope has been an incredible experience and a rare opportunity to be able to see a vision turn into a physical reality. I came down here with nothing but a notepad and with the help of some great teammates, Kevin Kurkul, Jake Vestal, and Esi Waters, and the support of the Small Hope family we can leave with a resort-wide solar hot water system, an energy monitoring program, community outreach material on solar hot water systems, and an environmental management plan for the resort.

Time has really flown by and these next few weeks will continue to fly by as we try to finish construction on the solar hot water system. I am ecstatic to get my hands dirty after weeks of dealing with the logistics of obtaining specialized parts and shipping to a remote Out Island like Andros.  (You will not believe how inaccurate those shipping estimate dates are!)

Finally after a few weeks of calling freight companies, distributors, and coordinating with manufacturers, the majority of the parts have arrived! We have been focusing our efforts on building the water manifolds for the hot water storage tanks and starting to solder the copper components. If you are interested in reading more about the specifics of the system, check out my blog entry on the system design. http://blogs.nicholas.duke.edu/internshipblogs/pulling-together-a-solar-hot-water-system-for-small-hope/ Once we are done with that, the team will start to run the pex tubing (a flexible tube that will deliver the end use water) around the resort and to each of our cabins. I am excited to see what our final system looks like and to get it online! I think it will be a great help to Small Hope in terms of reducing its energy costs, but also as an example for the community and to inspire others to follow suit! With plentiful sun exposure, Bahamians really could benefit by tapping into this underutilized resource!
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1 comment:

gail tucker said...

Praises and thanks for your leadership step for this wonderful community. I lived on Andros many years ago ...and know the heart of the people is reflected in the beauty of the island :) Hope to visit sometime soon ...in my heart always !