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Playing with the Sun

posted Jan 20, 2010, 4:35 AM by Reinoud Vaandrager   [ updated Jan 25, 2010, 8:41 AM ]
I brought some basic solar equipment such as a 14.4V Regulator, a 2.4W 17.5V PV panel, a 300W 12V to 5&220V Inverter and a basic multimeter. Joshua (the NGO organizer) was able to pick up a 2nd hand lead-acid car battery. And so yesterday we spent some time hooking it all up. The result is a simple solar charger for less than E100,-

Currently it does not produce a lot of energy (about 30W on a sunny day), but this is enough to charge a mobile phone through the 5V USB connector and also run a 5W LED based lightbulb (40W equivalent, I'm using some donated lemnis bulbs we got at Google last year) for about 5 hours. In the future it will be possible to boost capacity by simply adding more panels.

On the other end of the solar spectrum we are working with Engineers without borders from the UK to see if we can set up a much larger solar station that will not only be able to power the Rural Development office but also the neighbouring shools and other community buildings. We are currently in the pre-feasability study so it might take a while (and might not be around to see it fully realized by then) but the EWB team is very motivated and so are we so I've got good hopes for the future :)