Friday, June 16, 2017

Nano Solar Power Stations in Kampong Speu

This year we explored a new site, a village approximately 70 kilometres west of Phnom Penh in Kampong Speu province.  It was suggested by our partner NGO, Young People Do, who have already been doing quite a bit of work in the area.  Later on, some of the students from Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP) told us that this is one of the poorer provinces in a poor country.  Perhaps that is why we are working here.  

The students have been working there when I arrived with some officials from RUPP, including a vice rector and some deans of schools.  There were very happy with what they see, a charging station nearing completion.  At each station, 12 solar panels together can generate 240 watts, sufficient to charge 6 car batteries at the same time.  The villagers take their batteries to the station to be charged.  Then they can take the batteries home to run LED lights, radios, charge mobile phones and other small appliances.  

The students have to construct the frame for the charging station.  To secure the frame, they have to dig holes in the ground, and when available, pour concrete, and pack gravel to secure the posts.  

Then they have to install the solar panels and controllers, attach the cables, and test the system.  

Each station serves ~10 families within short walking distance.  We are building 8 such stations to serve 80+ families in one week.   Some of the RUPP teachers explained to us that, after working with us for a year, they feel they have learning enough about the technology to start doing it on their own, when we have left.  At the same time, they want us to continue to support them and to work with them.  We are so glad that we have successfully pass on the knowledge and skills that we have developed.  We can come here for 2 weeks each time.  But they are here year long and can make a much bigger impact than we do.  We feel privileged to be able to participate in the development of this country.  We are also glad that we have chosen a technology that is within reach of the local community, that they feel they can master themselves.  

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