The Quadracci Sustainable Engineering Lab was asked to assist in the installation of four new Shared Solar units in rural Uganda. This past December, power was turned on and payment systems were activated. That means eighty new households have a stable source of electricity. Those electric connections can be used to start businesses, provide lights for education, or enable communication through phone, radio, and computer charging. The newest version of qSEL’s secure offline payment system was installed. It uses encrypted NFC cards to transfer energy credit from system operators to customers. No network connection is required to buy and sell credits, only to create secure cards.
All four systems were built in collaboration with the local operators and contractors. Knowledgeable local technicians are vital to the systems longevity and success. Additional training was provided to the local operators on system functionality, operation, and maintenance.
Each installation was built with 1.6 kW of solar power and a 19.2 kWh of batteries. This will provide enough capacity for several days without sun. Relatively low required generation is one of the benefits of a shared resource system. Utilization of available resources is as high as possible and maintenance is minimized.