July 13, 2008

Solar System in Rural Schools to Bring Big Savings

TUARAN: An electricity power generation system that will save 20- fold the government money spent on diesel was launched here yesterday.

The solar hybrid system which will be extended to 122 rural schools ident ified by the Education Ministry across Sabah at a cost of about RM400 million comes at the right time, as fuel prices are soaring.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman launched the Solar Hybrid Electricity Power For Rural Schools Project at SK Tudan here, a remote village about 70km from Kota Kinabalu yesterday.

Education Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said the project was part of efforts to improve basic amenities at rural schools. He said it was fortunate that its implementation in Sabah was delayed.

"The delay came late but was a blessing in disguise." He explained that the initial plan in 2006 was to provide diesel generators. When the system was introduced this year, the ministry switched to the solar hybrid system without any hesitation.

Hishammuddin said in a rural school such as SK Tudan, the government would need to spend about RM20,000 a month based on the current price of diesel but with the solar hybrid system they would only need to spend about RM1,000.

The system will save the government much needed funds, he said, noting that last year, for instance, the government spent about RM1 billion on diesel for generators in rural schools.

Hishammuddin also announced a RM300 million matriculation college would be built in Sabah.

The college, aimed at providing opportunities for the younger generation of Sabahans to study in higher learning institutions, will speed up the process of producing much needed human capital.

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