The LemonAid Village Schools in Lower Allentown, Sierra Leone provide services to 505 children in the area. In the words of head mistress, Francess Browne, “We are having energy failure and we are in desperate need of supplemental energy through source such as solar panels and energy storage facility. Currently the school relies on the inconsistent power grid of Freetown which only runs a few hours a day. In order to power their small computer lab in the evening they must use a generator which does not provide enough power to light the school while powering the computers.
A renewable energy source is desired which will provide the school with a clean and consistent source of power for their daily activities. The first steps in this process are to understand the needs of the community, as well as the economic and environmental costs of their current energy supply. It is important that the school is educated about different energy alternatives, as well as the efficient use of available solution. Together we plan to design an appropriate system to meet these needs and have a lasting impact.
Our team is currently trying to raise funds in order to go on our assessment trip in December 2011. This trip’s purpose will be to perform an energy analysis of the school and establish ties with the community. We are working with a mentor with strong experience in the solar industry and have been in contact with leaders at the school in order to formulate preliminary design ideas for the project.
The primary objective of this trip is to assess the need for, and feasibility of, a renewable energy solution for the LemonAid Village Schools. This includes meeting with local solar companies to identify locally available resources and collecting technical data necessary for developing an engineering solution. We will also be working closely with the community to develop maintenance plans to ensure that the system is a sustainable solution for the needs of the school.