Members of the IEEE student branch at University of Cape Town have successfully installed a 300 liter solar geyser at the Emasithandane Children’s home out in Nyanga, on the outskirts of Cape Town, South Africa. Last year, the children’s home received a donation of R55,000* from postgraduate students of the Commerce Faculty that went towards the extension of the home so that it would be able to shelter more children. An array of 3 kilowatt solar panels will be installed on the new roof, which together with the solar geyser, will save the home around R1,500 monthly on their electricity bill.
The industry partners are Hills Solar, Solairedirect Technologies, MLT Drives, Eskom and staff in the Department of Electrical Engineering at the University. In addition to funding from EPICS in IEEE, these partners have donated an estimated R203,000 in equipment and funds. Non-profit organization Jembi Health Systems also aided in making this project successful.
Through the Power Engineering research group at the University of Cape Town, the IEEE students partnered with Crossing Borders from the University Of Stuttgart, Germany. Two of their members, Helena Hingerl and Verena Steub arrived in Cape Town to assist with the installation of the solar geyser.
A main component of this project was to expose the local youth to solar energy and its benefits. In October a group of high school learners visited Solariedirect Technologies where they built a kilowatt array of solar panels.
At a function on December 1st, 2011, the learners from Mandela High School and New Eisleben High School did a presentation on what they have learned about solar energy and how they built a geyser and solar panel model. Once the installation is complete, the IEEE students will educate the staff and children who live in the home on the benefits of solar energy. The efforts of the project and the students involved have done so much to help the children who reside there, and Mama Zelphina Maposela who founded the home.
The IEEE students at the University of Cape Town are a group of dedicated and committed young people who have given up huge amounts of time to ensure that this project came to fruition. David Oyedokun, the leader of this project has worked tirelessly with his committee members to secure the funding, to install the geyser and to run the education programs at the schools. David was selected as a recipient of the IEEE MGA GOLD Achievement Award 2011 for his inspirational leadership towards successful IEEE EPICS-High Projects, fostering member engagement, and empowering the community.
The other project members are mainly postgraduate students who come from across Africa – Chad, Congo, Ghana, Lesotho, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania and Zimbabwe. Professor Francis Petersen, University of Cape Town Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment, commented on the success of the project: “These are students the Faculty of Engineering & the Built Environment can be extremely proud of. Our aim is to produce graduate students with excellent technical skills and knowledge, and a commitment to social upliftment in the communities around us.”
*1 U.S. dollar = 8.05 South African Rands