You may have picked up that we have a formidable multi-skilled team working together to save money, save energy, and reduce our schools’ carbon footprint to help reduce climate change. One of our partners on the project is the SUNStep programme run by Miranda at Stellenbosch University’s Engineering Faculty. They invite learners to the University for a day, and educate them about climate change and renewables, and also let them solder their own solar mobile phone charger. So when we set up the GreenClassroom at AF Louw Primary in September, Therese invited Ms Tarr (the principal), who is always eager to try new things. She sent her grade 7 students to join in and ended up doing some soldering of her own. Safe to say, in addition to learning to solder, learning about the impact we have on the environment and renewable sources, the kids had a blast.

We would like to thank Miranda for this fantastic initiative and for partnering with the GreenClassroom project.  We were especially proud of Ryan Setona, pictured with his panel below, whose circuit worked the first time and charged his tablet. Said Ms Tarr afterwards: “The learners learnt so much that day, that we cannot even begin to teach in a classroom. The practical work linked with the theoretical work makes learning meaningful and fun.

Students making solar chargers photo

Students making solar chargers photo 2

Completed solar chargers photo Student charging tablet photo

Coincidentally, we realised that the same entity funding our research in the post-graduate lab, MTN, was also the entity that started with the SUNStep programme in 1997 – exemplary corporate participation indeed.

Jason, or resident PhD student, is working on reducing the costs of the circuit board so that we can accept even more learners next year. Please do get in touch if you would like to bring your school and/or you would like to take part in funding this important activity – it is age appropriate for grades 7 to 11.

In addition to the wonderful progress with the kids, we also have some good news to share. We have managed to get agreement from two schools to install solar power before the end of the year. I would like to thank Energy Partners for bending over backwards to accommodate the school-friendly terms on the deals. Another example of exemplary corporate participation. We should have the contracts signed by the end of the year and will reduce each school’s footprint by at least 100 kg per day. We plan to do the other three Stellenbosch schools early in the New Year, so watch this space.

Finally, we want to congratulate Ruan, who came up with the idea for the GreenClassroom – he managed to complete his final year project (on this project) today and passed his project with a distinction.

Although I cannot say much more, there are two very exciting opportunities on the horizon, of which I hope to tell you more next time.