A big challenge was requested to SMA Service technicians: Alessandro Conti from Italy and six Service employees from Germany were in charge of commissioning the largest PV power plant in Africa – in only 10 days. It was really hot and the work was challenging under such unfavorable access conditions. However, in the end, everything worked out well. Alessandro tells us his experience, ranging from the exciting country and its culture to a fantastic team.
Sioma High School serves a large area of Western Zambia, Africa. Its more than 600 students walk, sometimes for several days, to get to the campus, where they will live for the entire semester. Sioma High School’s four dormitories, kitchen and dining halls, and seven classrooms, were powered by three dirty and inefficient diesel generators that ran throughout the day, creating an unhealthy learning environment filled with noise and air pollution. It was susceptible to the fluctuating price and unpredictable delivery of diesel, which costs the school approximately $26,000 each year. That is, until Empowered by Light stepped in.
In times of feed-in tariff cuts, there are many prophecies of doom for solar. Companies in different countries around the world have gone bankrupt and have had to shut down their factories. Reason enough for many to believe that the end is near. Not quite. Yes, in 2012 as the industry began consolidating, PV production recorded its first annual drop. But because demand continues to rise this contraction will be short-lived. Global solar developments show that this industry is far from finished but that the journey has only just begun.
South Sudan’s maternal mortality is the worst in the world, quoted as 2054 per 100 000 live births, in the 2006 Sudan Household Survey. This translates to at least 1 in 10 mothers dying as a result of pregnancy or childbirth. The infant and childhood mortality rates are quoted as 102 and 235 deaths per 1000 live births, respectively, in a 2008 WHO interim report. One in four children under the age of 5 are malnourished and only 10% are fully vaccinated.
The first PV diesel project in the megawatts was commissioned in Thabazimbi in November 2012 and, as a future development engineer, I was granted the opportunity of being present for the commissioning of this flagship project.
A truck carrying two Sunny Centrals at production goods issue is certainly not an odd sight. However, these two central inverters are on a special mission. They are on their way to Munich, or, more precisely, to the Industrieanlagen-Betriebsgesellschaft mbH (IABG) – a German technology and science service center which carries out tests and analyses.
Since the start of this year, SMA France has taken on responsibility for sales in the French-speaking countries of West Africa. After all, France and the Francophone African countries have close historical ties and maintain extensive trade relationships. Furthermore, West Africa lies in the earth’s sun belt and benefits from excellent solar irradiation, and so it made sense for the French Solar Academy to hold various technical workshops and a PV conference in this region.