Beirut.com- On October 13, The American Community School of Beirut officially announced their first day of having fully operational solar PV systems providing renewable energy for the school. Once installed, this became the largest solar project installation on a school campus in Lebanon, one that will generate up to 25% of the school’s energy needs.

The project took two years to complete, and was made possible through capital planning at the school and grants from US AID. The project was managed by local greentech company, Yelloblue, who managed technical aspects of the project including a ‘dashboard’ that allows individuals to see the energy production and environmental savings made possible by the project in real time.

ACS has set a great example for Lebanese schools and other institutions to help create new energy, cut costs, and eventually supply excess electricity to the National Grid, something that the country desperately needs. Students at the school are actively taking part in understanding the costs and impacts of renewable energy versus nonrenewable, which in turn creates a fundamental change in attitude towards sustainability for Lebanon’s future generations.

“Beyond providing energy for our use, ACS hopes to take the excess energy generated, during weekends and vacation, and give it back to the power grid of Lebanon.” said ACS’s Head of School, Greg MacGilpin Jr. He further commented, “we also will continue to think about how to reduce or revise our energy consumption, teach our students the significance of such efforts, and live lighter, smarter and more carefully on our earth.” In the future, students will be using the data from the panels in various aspects of their class work.

Like most things in Lebanon and in new technological endeavors worldwide, the project did present an array of challenges at the start. Firstly, the roofs of ACS which cover over 2,060 square meters needed to be linked together in order for successful installation. Due to the fact that the campus’s buildings are separated by public roads, more than four kilometers of cable was used to link the 1,118 photovoltaic panels. A water heater, powered by solar energy, was also installed for the school’s gymnasium water – and a research and development team from Europe aided in making sure that the three power sources work in a safe and efficient manner.