SLRE Blog Post

Hello, we are the EWB-NCSU Sierra Leone Renewable Energy Project! Over the course of the past semester we’ve been designing a solar panel array to be installed at the Lemonaid Living & Learning Village in Freetown, Sierra Leone. The 600 students at the school do not have access to clean energy and currently get their power from a polluting diesel generator. Our solar panel system will allow the school to hold night classes, power the computer lab, and store important vaccines.

Designing this system has required electrical calculations on the sizing of the solar panels, inverter, batteries, charge controllers and structural calculations to ensure that the building is able to support the weight of our solar panels. These calculations will confirm that the design we are choosing to implement will not cause any destruction of the current building or present any safety concerns to the community. We also modeled the system with AutoCAD software to create a visual representation of our designs so we can effectively communicate our ideas to others.

The community has recently emerged from the worst Ebola crisis in history, but was declared free of Ebola last week! We are hoping to implement our solar panel design over the summer of 2016, and get the school access to clean power. This will be a two week trip where we implement the necessary structural supports for the school building, install the solar panels, and teach the students and teachers on how to maintain and fix the system.

While we are implementing our design in the school, we plan on educating the school children on STEM subjects. We plan on sharing information on six subjects that pertain to our project: Energy, Fossil Fuels, Solar Energy, Physics, Chemistry, and Biology. We will also be giving the school a comprehensive maintenance manual for the solar panels and teaching the instructors and students how to properly care for the system. In addition to teaching the children in Sierra Leone, we are also working on connecting EWB with our local community by reaching out to Triangle area middle schools to inspire students and demonstrate the significance of STEM to younger generations. We will be kicking off the outreach program in January!

We expect our project to benefit the Sierra Leone school community by providing a renewable and eco-friendly source of power to be used for basic facilities necessary to provide quality education. You can contact us at if you have any questions or would like to support our project in any way. Until next time!