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Implementation Trip – Day 4

Thursday August 14, 2014

I will start today’s post with an overview of the system that is being installed here in Muhuru Bay. Two wind turbines (about 1kW each) and 12 solar panels (235W each) will be used to generate clean electricity. The electricity is stored in eight large stationary lead-acid batteries in a specialized control room. There are several controllers that manage the charging of these batteries. There is also a piece of equipment called an “inverter” that converts the DC from the batteries to AC. The AC electricity is made available to the energy kiosk and the headmaster’s home. The portable battery kits (BBOXXs) are recharged in the energy kiosk. We will have about 70 BBOXXs that are available to the families of students at Kristy’s Cape Academy for a monthly rental fee. The BBOXXs can supply electricity for lights, radios, cell phones and other small electrical components. They need to be brought back to the kiosk to be recharged every few days.

We spent most of the day pulling cable and wiring the solar panels and wind turbines into the control room and energy kiosk. This is very labor intensive, and it so happens that this is one of the hottest days we have had so far. Muhuru Bay is just slightly in the southern hemisphere, so although it is winter here, the temperatures in the daytime is in the high 70s, with lots of sun. We are very tempted to go for a swim in the scenic Lake Victoria, but this is dangerous (see previous post with the hippo sighting).  We have to settle for water and the occasional warm soda.

The 20 BBOXXs that we received last night are going through a full charge/discharge cycle to validate that they are of acceptable quality. All seems well so far.

The data logger is being wired along with the rest of the system. This requires soldering about 60 connections, under less than ideal circumstances. Steve and Daniel have been leading this effort. If all goes well, we will start sending real data sometime tomorrow.

On a side note, Kristine happened to interview a woman who is a midwife. During the interview, Kristine was told that a newborn baby girl was to be named “Kristine” in her honor. Tomorrow we hope to visit baby Kristine and bring her a small gift.

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