Portable solar for African villages

12 July, 2009 Gadget0

Solartech International from Luxembourg has released a Portable Solar panel
designed for use in sub saharan Africa, which it claims can free
villagers from the tyranny of darkness or reliance on dirty and
increasingly expensive kerosene. The unit is the size of a shipping
container and will power a village of 1,500 inhabitants.

The unit stores enough energy to deliver power evenly over a 24 hour
period regardless of the weather.

By delivering the solar power station as a complete unit designed for a
small community, the system avoids the infrastructure cost of
building an electricity grid. Individual units can be attached to
high energy use buildings like hospitals and backed up by other forms
of generation.

are a number of companies in Europe under the brand SolarTec. Solar
Tec AG in Germany
uses solar concentrating technology, such as that
pioneered by Green and Gold Energy in Australia. Green and GoldEnergy won the ABC television program New Inventors in 2005 for their original suncube and were featured on the first ever Generator here on Bay FM. 

concentrator focuses the sun on a smaller area, making more efficient
use of the photovoltaic cells that convert the sun’s energy into
electricity and reducing costs. By using fresnel lenses, similar to
the plastic lenses available for rear windows of cars, the unit can
be manufactured very cheaply.

does not appear that this technology is being used in the portable unit being shipped to African villages.

range of portable solar solutions are now available, ranging from
units designed for camping and other traveling applications, through
to semi-permanent installations that need to be able to be moved when

Generator’s own Malcolm McKenzie has developed one such solution
using thin film panels that fold up into a flat pack that can fit
into a car boot.





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