Monday, February 7, 2011

A model of planning and execution – the solar team arrives, installs and continues on to their own adventures

Most of a year of careful planning preceded the late January arrival of the Solar Team.  To prepare for their arrival, Simon from Kampala wired lights and switches, Bill fabricated steel solar panel supports, and batteries and an inverter were purchased in Kampala. The 300 pounds of small solar panels, charge controller and other equipment had started arriving months before with other volunteers – the last boxes arriving with the solar team themselves. Len, Julie, Sandy, Mike and Sam quickly got to work and within three days the system was operational.

Of course, as with most projects in Africa, some adaptation had to occur. The DC cell phone charging station had to be replaced with a less efficient AC system- the result of faulty DC breakers purchased in Kampala. But on the whole, we could not have asked for a smoother installation.

As a result of their speedy installation, the solar team had time to integrate into the teacher-training program. Linda, who has been running a professional development program for the teachers (more blog info on that to come), coordinated a series of interactive learning days between the school teachers and the solar team members. This was a valuable learning experience for the teachers.

We thank the solar team for their months of planning and preparation and one fantastic week in Bwera where all the pieces came together.

Hundreds of pre-wired 5W panels arrived at the site over the last couple months

Julie shows off a six-panel array

Sandy, Mike and Bill arrange the small arrays onto the support structures

Sandy spent days in the equatorial sun wiring panels to junction boxes

Len and Sam getting started on the wiring of the breakers, inverter and controller

The team - Julie, Sandy, Len, Mike, Sam and Bill

The solar team working in small groups with the teachers