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USF and Flow Foundation builds Solar powered CAP in Sterling Castle

“We are approaching the ‘300 mark’ in terms of number of community access points (cyber cafes) established across the island by the USF and in conducting our audit of these facilities, one of the challenges identified was the high cost of electricity. In some cases, the high energy costs caused centres to reduce their operating hours or even close their doors”

Minister of Science Energy and Technology, Dr Andrew Wheatley in the commissioning of The Link – Sterling Castle, a joint initiative of the Universal Service Fund and the FLOW Foundation

Solar can power anything…….even a computer lab.

On Wednesday, December 27, 2017, the Ministry of Science Energy and Technology opened the first solar powered community computer laboratory in Sterling Castle, St Andrew, at the Alpine Mennonite Church in Red Hills, St Andrew.

Dubbed “The Link – Sterling Castle”, the CAP (Community Access Point) will enable community members to access the internet and other Information Communication Technology Services at no cost. This is possible via a partnership with the USF (Universal Service Fund) and Flow Foundation as shown on FLOW Jamaica Facebook Page:

‘The Link – Sterling Castle’ project was a one year venture that was completed in December at a cost of JA$7.8 million. It’s made up of:

  • 15 Desktop Computer Units
  • 1 server unit
  • 2 multifunctional inkjet printers
  • Workstations
  • AC units
  • Projector and projector screen
  • Wireless router
  • 2 UPS units

The PV System generates 9KW of power, with the excess being sold back to the grid via a Net Billing Arrangement. This along with the building was provided by the USF, with the Internet access, the new sign as well as a new paint job were thrown in by the FLOW Foundation as shown on the USF Jamaica’s Twitter page:

Effectively, this is an example of the Government and FLOW Jamaica working together to provide free and environmentally friendly Internet access to community members as pointed out by Executive Chairman of the FLOW Foundation Errol Miller, quote: “Working as a team, with our combined resources, we are better able to roll out cyber centres such as this one in Sterling Castle that are fully equipped in every regard so that the beneficiaries have very little to do but to turn on their computers and start working”.

‘The Link’ will link the community of Sterling Castle, St Andrew to the world via the Internet while reducing the operating cost by taking power from the Sun. Now if only they could throw in a Hydrogen powered cooking Gas Stove developed with research from UTECH and the UWI using water as the source of Hydrogen and the world would truly be a Better place.


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Lindsworth is a Radio Frequency and Generator Maintenance Technician who has a knack for writing about his work, which is in the Telecoms Engineering Field. An inspired writer on themes as diverse as Autonomous Ants simulations, Power from Lightning and the current Tablet Wars.

Filed in: Tech News, Internet, Caribbean Tech Tags: , , ,

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