In Bagaya, Senegal, the electricity suffers from temporary failures, which can cause significant problems. It can also be troubling for those who need continuous lighting (e.g. surgeons) and cooling (e.g. for conservation medicines). Since 1989, the Belgian organization Bagaya-Kapelle has supported small developmental projects for Bagaya. To meet the basic needs of the village, they have asked the non-profit organization Humasol, an engineering based humanitarian group, to help install solar cells to ensure a continuous supply of energy.
For this purpose, Humasol has selected master students of electrical engineering from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, acting as missionaries and trainers for a local partner, represented by the A.J.B. (Association des Jeunes de Bagaya). The goal of the missionaries is to, by the end of summer help establish stability for the local partner. In first instance, they will teach to cope with any reparation issues and if possible, to reproduce the installation. Humasol’s collaboration with Bagaya will last at least three years, in order to increase the capabilities of the local partner with construction.
The students from the university will be buying the correct number of solar cells, which have to be soldered in series and parallel to deliver enough voltage and current. Then, an appropriate controller must control the power delivery to the battery. The students must also work on the packaging, which is crucial, as no wind or rain must damage the solar cells. Humasol will assign a project leader, responsible for guiding the students through their pre-study of the project, and who will act as a sounding board during the design and execution phase.
The students are selected on the basis of a CV and motivation letter. The selected students will be given 6 credits, and be followed up by IEEE member Dieter Duyc and the groups responsible involved in these two projects. After the pre-study period, they will then travel to Bagaya in the summer of 2011. Humasol also intends to involve Senegalese high school students in preparation and feedback.
A blog will be maintained by the missionaries on the Humasol website in order to document and track communication between all the groups involved.