Off-grid solar energy system to power rural school
Swedish solar energy technology company Midsummer has decided to support a charity school project in the rural Matopos area of southern Zimbabwe. In cooperation with the Paul & Eszter Karaszi Education Foundation, Midsummer will equip a new computer centre and library at the White Water secondary school with an entire off-grid solar energy system.
Sven Lindström, CEO, Midsummer, said: “We have looked to initiate a CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) project for a while and now found this Zimbabwe school project that suits us perfectly and that we will support for the long haul. We get the opportunity to donate an entire expandable solar energy system to support education in a poor rural area in Africa and with the confidence that the project is run very professionally by the Karaszi Foundation.”
“In addition, we can use the installation to test and measure the performance of the system and our CIGS thin film solar cells in a sun-soaked area at high altitude near the equator, and to what extent it may efficiently power not only the computer hall but also other school buildings – the school is completely off-grid. Our light weight and flexible thin film solar panels are ideal for the relatively weak roof structures that are common in developing regions.”
The computer centre and library will be a brand new 100sqm school building, financed and constructed by the Karaszi Foundation. It has room for up to 40 students, a dozen teachers and will be equipped with 30 laptops and satellite Internet communications, all powered by the modern solar energy system, complete with 47 panels, inverters and batteries, donated by Midsummer. The panels have been manufactured at Midsummer’s factory in Sweden and are on route to southern Africa.
“I am happy to team up with Midsummer and its expertise to power the new computer hall with 100% green energy,” said Peter Karaszi, Founder of the Paul & Eszter Karaszi Education Foundation. “The foundation is looking for the very best partners for our projects to be able to deliver top notch solutions for the selected schools that we decide to support.”
The Karaszi Foundation is a small privately-run non-profit organisation that plans, coordinates and executes school projects for underprivileged children in Africa. It invests 100% of donations in the projects, without any administrative costs whatsoever, and accepts donations from private citizens, companies and institutions.
The White Water secondary school with 450 students is located in the Matopos area near Zimbabwe’s second largest city Bulawayo in Matabeleland. The latitude is 20°30′ South of the equator and the elevation is approx. 1,350 meters. The average monthly sunshine in the Matopos range from 200 hours in February to 300 hours in August.
Other sponsors in the White Water project are Big Cave Camp (accommodation, project management), Go Hybrid (IT services) and Warrick Raubenheimer Architecture.