Stable and high-quality electricity provided by a photovoltaic system

Énergie Solaire Pour L'Éducation Project

Cameroon

In English: "Solar Energy for Education", is a project that combines two interdependent concepts. Electrical energy is enormously important in education. Energy plays a vital role in eradicating poverty, improving education, reducing mortality rates, and accessing quality health care, among many other matters. We also have 2 local partners who ensure the sustainability of the project: the Ministry of Energy and Water of Cameroon and the Don Bosco Technical Institute, which is run by the Salesians of Don Bosco.

Background

The project will be completed in Ebolowa, the capital of the southern province of Cameroon, which has almost 100,000 inhabitants and is located 168 km from the capital city, Yaoundé. Their humanitarian situation is similar to that of other isolated areas in Cameroon: impoverished families, subsistence economy, unemployment, lack of public and private investment, lack of access to social services and an educational system in crisis with very few resources.

This situation means there is a large number of unsuccessful and desperate young people who are involved in delinquent behaviour such as crime, prostitution, drugs, prison, etc. The rising cost of living means that a large number of families are finding themselves in a situation of increasingly severe poverty and are unable to pay for their children's education.

The city lacks industries where young people can find work. In its villages, subsistence agriculture is the only way of life, meaning that the outlook for young people is dire. Despite this, there is hope for the region, its families and the country in its young people. Young Cameroonians love work. The Salesians have found that young people want to take advantage of the great opportunity offered by vocational training. Young people who have been trained and educated can find opportunities in Cameroon or abroad. In our field, we need mechanics, electricians, carpenters, computer specialists and electronic maintenance engineers. Therefore, the Salesians promote quality vocational training with a view to the social integration of young people through work.

The Don Bosco Technical Institute (ITDB) is one of the few opportunities available to Ebolowa's youth in order to prosper and have a better future.

Electricity problems

Power cuts or outages are becoming more and more frequent, sometimes lasting for several days. People have spent hours without electricity, experiencing serious food conservation problems, among others.

The electricity that is available is of very poor quality. Voltage spikes that damage electronic equipment and their protection systems are commonplace. Facility and equipment maintenance is a serious issue with a significant financial impact.

Salesians in Ebolowa

The Salesians of Don Bosco is a Catholic religious order working in education, specifically for disadvantaged young people. They run 83 Technical Vocational Training Centres in Africa.

The Ebolowa ITDB is a leading professional training centre in southern Cameroon with over 750 students. Young people and adolescents are able to learn a trade in a quality educational environment. It offers training in automotive mechanics, electricity, carpentry, electronic maintenance and computers.

In addition, this centre offers:

  • Boarding facilities for 53 young people from isolated areas where it is difficult to access technical or secondary education
  • A youth centre offering extracurricular, sport and cultural activities and services to more than 300 young people in the city
  • A community radio station aimed at promoting education, socio-cultural activities and development, reaching 150,000 listeners.

About the Énergie Solaire Pour L'Éducation Project

The aim of the project is to consolidate all Don Bosco socio-educational activities in Ebolowa by providing stable and quality electricity to all ongoing projects. Stable, quality electricity, which will be provided by a photovoltaic system, will guarantee the activities at the technical institute, boarding school, youth centre, radio station and the free water supply to the neighbourhood.

Don Bosco's mission could be consolidated through saving on the energy costs associated with using a generator. The mission will also save money on maintenance, as the expenditure currently spent on repairing problems caused by surges will no longer be required.

Furthermore, implementing the project together with electricity teachers will provide the ITDB staff with important skills. This teacher training will enable teachers to add photovoltaic energy to the electricity curriculum. Sharing these skills will make it possible for the Salesians to maintain and care for the photovoltaic installations in Ebolowa. The teachers at the ITDB will be responsible for operating and maintaining the photovoltaic system.

Description of the solar power system

To improve quality, mitigate the constant cuts, and reduce the high cost of electricity, a solar power system with battery storage will be installed to work in conjunction with the current system.

The proposed design will consist of a 62 kWp solar array consisting of 180 panels providing 345 watts of power capacity, which will be able to provide 100% of the energy consumed. This array will work jointly with a cluster of 48 kWn chargers capable of supplying the necessary power capacity and with batteries from 3500Ah to 48V that will allow up to 12 hours of autonomy, enough to last through the night.

Electrical energy is enormously important in education

KEY INFORMATION

180
Panels

+750
Students

150,000
Radio listeners

100%
Energy consumed

The project, in images