Friday, May 23, 2014

Solar System

How do you get clean water into a village house? How do you power a radio to keep everyone in touch with the world and call for help, if needed? How do you provide light to work in the evenings when co-workers have finished their day-time jobs or done their tending of their gardens? I'm sure you're ahead of me - a solar electricity system.

After I had joined in the initial survey for a new airstrip (see our next blog post for details of that) I had some time to help a colleague install a new solar power system for our host's house. They had one already, but of an old design and it wasn't really meeting their needs.

The old solar panels, with a few bits of the new system
As the village had had rain every day for the past 3 weeks, and we wouldn't have been able to work on a wet roof, we tried to do as much installing of the new system as possible before we removed the old one.

The first thing we had to do was screw in mounting brackets, but the roof is just made of corrugated iron. So, wood was cut to place inside the roof to take the screw-threads.

Thankfully some of the tools we were to take back with us were still available
The tools had been brought in to help construct a literacy building, in partnership with the local church; the one I had to sling the sawmill for previously.

The literacy building
It was great to be able to see at least the shell of the literacy building complete, having taken people and materials in and out over the past couple of months.

But back to the solar panels. Once the feet were securely screwed in place, we had to build the frame. This involved cutting the aluminium lengths I had previously brought in with the helicopter. 

With the legs cut, we then had to drill holes for the bolts to go through
Back on the roof, the frame was assembled. The rain ominously fell on the adjacent ridgeline, but didn't make it as far as us.

In the midday sun, the roof got too hot for bare feet
And on the ground there were generally at least a few people watching proceedings.

The ladders were ones made for the literacy building construction
With the frame built, it was time to put the panels on.

We were finally brave enough to remove the previous panels
The wires were then connected up and run down into the house.

Finally, after dark, the panels were connected into the system
What a day it had been - after 3 weeks of continual rain, we'd had a day without any and stayed safe on the roof. I didn't even get sunburnt. Answers to all the prayers for no rain and our safety.

And the old panels? They'll go on the literacy building's roof to provide power over there.

No comments:

Post a Comment