A quick update on our quest for a sustainable source of electricity for the people of Esilalei. Last week was spent installing solar panels at the Bush2Beach semi-luxury Permanent Tented Camps at Karatu and Esilalei, which gave us the perfect opportunity to move forward on the community solar project next to the Esilalei camp.
With the prices for solar (PV) panels and equipment dropping drastically, and more important, the increased availability of the needed equipment, the choice is endless. However, we are not looking for the technically most ingenious system, what we need for the community needs to be self contained, easy to operate and above all, bomb proof.
Which is why we were very happy to find a system that appears to qualify on all these fronts (pictured); a complete set with a 5W PC panel, self-contained box holding battery, charger/controller and all the sockets and switches, two (very bright) white-LED lights with ample 20 meter cords and connection points, cables and converter plugs for the charging of mobile phones, radios etcetera. The panel can be put on top of a boma (with the legs through the straw roof, resting on the wooden beams) and the box placed somewhere inside.
We’ve setup the system at the community centre and instructed the Maasai in charge of the centre on it’s operation. Over the coming weeks we’ll be monitoring the system’s performance and decide on the way forward. If the box works as we hope, we’ll be back with a plan for funding and training.