Coelbe, 18. September 2012
Worldwide, more than one billion people are without access to electricity
In much of Africa electrical power supply remains a major problem, especially in rural areas. Only 14% of the population in Tanzania has access to regular electricity supply, and the majority of the population lives in rural settlements, where that number drops to a mere two percent. While Bagamoyo actually does have a public power grid, it is pestered by frequent power outages.
To give remote regions access to electricity, often self-contained solar power systems especially developed for such purposes are deployed – so called off-grid or „island“ systems. Solar electricity is partly used directly as being generated and partly stored in high quality solar batteries to be retrieved during nighttime. Off-grid solar power systems
A humble idea grows into a mission
Since 2005 there is a strong partnership between the Mwasama Pre-and Primary School in Bagamoyo and the Municipal Secondary School in the city of Ahlen/Westphalia. Already in 2007 the first training material about „Electrical Circuits“ was donated to the Mwasama School. At the school in Ahlen „The Science Buddies“ are a group of students from the 10th grade of high school who interested in technical scientific questions and help their fellow students with every day school tasks. This concept is to be extended to the partner school in Bagamoyo.
They turned the scheduled experimental sections of their school assignments into their project in Bagamoyo, and for the first time the group even traveled to Bagamoyo to visit their partner school in fall 2010. In their luggage they carried photovoltaic experimental kits for the pupils of their partner school. In 2010 they even won a special award for their project at the nationwide Focus Student Competition in Germany.
Solar power system for Mwasama Pre-and Primary School in Bagamoyo
During their visit in Bagamoyo, the Science Buddies decided to look for ways to equip their partner school with a reliable power supply. A modern photovoltaic system was to be installed on the roof of the school building. It turned out, however, that the roof of the existing school was structurally unfit to support the valuable solar panels, hence a new school building was required! To implement this truly major task, once again funds had to be raised and the students needed to muster all their know-how as well as dig up equipment and additional external support. Highly motivated the science buddies came up with many creative ideas.
A new school building is being constructed
The construction of the new school building of Mwasama-school commenced in 2011. It was built and completed this year according to the design of architect Martina Maury from Ahlen.
Installation of the photovoltaic system on the new school building
A group of dedicated volunteers, among them artisans, technicians and engineers, will now travel to Bagamoyo in September to install the PV system. One of the engineers is Peter Hoenen, Product Manager for off grid systems in the export department at Wagner & Co Solar Technology, who has many years experience with similar projects. Most recently in Spring 2012, he oversaw the installation of a dual energy solar power and water heating system for an orphanage in Ilula, Tanzania.
Solar Power for Lutindi Mental Hospital in Tanzania
When the word was spread about the project of the Science Buddies in Tanzania, there was a further request for a solar system from a hospital in the region. The Lutindi Mental Hospital is located in the Usambara Mountains, approximately 350 km from Bagamoyo in a beautiful region that is home to the well-known African Violet flowers. Unfortunately here an unreliable power supply also constitutes a major issue. Mr. Schäpers, the now retired vice-principal of the Ahlen Secondary School and former tutor of the Science Buddies, handed over the project to „The Friends of Bagamoyo“ (Freundeskreis Bagamoyuo) to assure its continuation. Quickly the decision was made to also provide the psychiatric hospital with an off grid photovoltaic system to ensure a reliable electricity supply in the future. The installation will take place directly after installing the solar panels on the roof of the Mwasama School.
Both projects found many supporters and sponsors
Wagner & Co Solar Technology from Cölbe/Germany, REC Solar Germany, The solar company Stapel GmbH in Ahlen (a longtime partner of Wagner & Co), the architect Martina Maury from Ahlen, the Berlin based Rainer Lemoine Stiftung and „The Friends of Bagamoyo“ in the Westphalian city of Beckum / Germany.
Author: Karin Weckesser, Translation: Stefan Thiesen