Solar power education project opens up new technology to Zanzibar communities

Families across Zanzibar could soon be turning the islands all year round sunshine into electricity, thanks to a training scheme run by Sazani.

The new solar energy programme is helping 20 villages to produce their own power – opening up opportunities for solar cookers to replace log fires and to power lighting and computers at schools.

Sazani is using Comic Relief support and Clean Energy funding from the Welsh Government to deliver the project, which is costing just £20,000. They are providing training in solar installation and maintenance skills for young local people studying at Mkokotoni College.

Community Solar Panels

“The students have been great, learning by doing,” said Sazani’s resident expert Glenn Krohn from Solar Zanzibar. “After their training, they have been working across the island with us on commercial installations before we let them loose on their own communities”

Glenn is a retired electronic and solar engineer who is living his philosophy of “learn earn and return” by supporting Sazani.

“Fuel wood is becoming scarce on the islands and converting the sun’s energy into heat and light is going to make a big difference to the lives of local people. At the end of the project we will also have trained 40 solar engineers who will help to maintain the solar systems and benefit from the village credit schemes Sazani set up to help fund that work,” he said.

And on 1 May the College has an exhibition in national Amani Stadium where it will be showcasing the solar systems the students are learning to install. The WACL funding has paid for 20 solar kits, including inverter, charge controller, battery and solar panels, and a 12 week training programme for young people from each of the participating communities. Twenty communities without access to electricity are being provided with a solar hub, installed into a community building and maintained by trained members of the community.

And over one year the new systems will save more than 36 tonnes of CO2. It is expected that systems and equipment will last 5 years equating to approximately 200 tonnes of carbon. Already the scheme is half way through, and is being heralded by local communities for reducing reliance on wood as the primary fuel for cooking nutritious meals as part of Sazani’s healthy eating programme.

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