Wondering exactly how it all works? Here are some technical details.
26 Solar panels – Converts sunlight to DC current
2 Controllers – Manage the flow of electricity from the panels
36 Batteries – Store the energy
1 Inverter – Converts DC (direct current) to the normal household AC (alternating current)
Generating capacity – 19 kilowatts per day (even when cloudy). Enough power for about two days worth of soccer viewing (about 14 hours), including lights and projector.
Compared to a typical home – The same instillation can power a typical South African home for six to nine hours per day (depending on the efficiency of the home).
Tip - It's a good idea to have an energy audit. The vast majority of homes can be made much more efficient. Space heating and hot water heating can usually be greatly improved, while also making the home more comfortable. The easiest way to cut energy bills is by switching to energy efficient lighting – like CFLs (compact florescent lightbulbs). These are normally 75 percent more efficient than old fashioned incandescent bulbs. More ways to save money and energy.
Local knowledge, African technology
The solar panels we used were all made in South Africa.
We had support for the youth training from our Switzerland office, which has been training teenagers how to install solar power for several years. Twenty-three Jerhicho locals (including 15 students from the school next door) went through a two week course. They will help maintain the instillation, and have a thorough understanding of how solar energy can work.
For the installation, we had help from Thabo Maphatsoe, a technician with Soweto based solar power company Lehakoe Design Projects. As with any of their installations, they will supply any professional support needed.
We chose to use local materials, and local knowledge to shot that the solutions are already here in Africa.