Analy's Project Make class powers schools in Kenya

Posted by On 3:56 AM

Analy's Project Make class powers schools in Kenya


LIGHTING UP-- Mia Wesselkamper (left) and Priscila Gonzalez successfully test their solar power suitcase that is designed to provide a school in Kenya with a source of electricity. Analy High’s Project Make class assembled two of them this year.


POWER COUPLEâ€"Ben Marquard (left) and Taelyr Michael get to work on assembling a solar power suitcase for use in Kenya schools as part of Analy High’s Project Make class.

Students enrolled in Analy High’s Project Make classes are ending the school year knowing they contributed to the educ ation of kids in two schools in Kenya by assembling solar power kits the size of a carry-on suitcase.

Walt Hays, Analy’s Project Make instructor, said his students spent part of the school year learning about solar power and how it can benefit people in developing countries where electricity or fossil fuel power is expensive or non-existent. Then, using materials supplied by the non-profit We Share Solar of Berkeley, they assembled and tested the suitcase-sized units for use at schools in Kenya. We Share Solar officials said their solar units bound for schools are usually used where electricity is unreliable for powering computers, phones and lighting.

The suitcase uses solar panels to harness the sun’s energy that can charge cell phones, batteries, task lighting and outlets for 12-volt direct current devices.

When assembled, the solar suitcase is about the size of the largest carry-on bag allowed on airplanes and weighs about 35 pounds.

Hays sai d he was able to participate in the Berkeley agency’s program through funding by PG&E that covered the cost of materials. Normally, the solar suitcases cost about $2,000 each to produce.

“We Share Solar makes kits which are used to have students learn about solar power and then assemble and test as solar suitcases which get sent to a Third World country, to a school or orphanage usually,” Hays said. “The program was fantastic. They use in-country installers, which helps to improve the lives of people in the country.”

Hays said that last year he attended an all-day training session at the We Share Solar offices, where he learned how to build the kits and built a mini-kit to take back to the classroom. Last fall, the Project Make classes received six mini-kits to practice on and two full-size kits to assemble for use in Kenya classrooms.

“I had two groups of students carefully build the kits to send, then we sent them to We Share Solar, which did final tests and then placed them in-country,” Hays said.

The Berkeley non-profit offers several different styles of solar suitcases that can perform a variety of functions, ranging from simply providing an energy source for a school to powering medical equipment at a field clinic.

Since 2011, We Share Solar says it has disbursed about 3,000 of their so-called “magic boxes” across Africa and Asia in order to bring power to rural villages. One of the main functions of the solar suitcases with advanced features is to allow medical workers the ability to provide round-the-clock obstetric care.

Source: Google News Kenya | Netizen 24 Kenya

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