Mikumi Solar Project 2015 – The Mikumi Solar Project is exciting in so many ways. Not only are NSCC and VETA Mikumi students and faculty working together to build a reliable water pump powered by renewable energy, but we’ve also incorporated a way to electronically collect information about the system and to get this information online. Using a variety of sensors, we will have access to a wealth of recorded data relating to solar energy, the pump, the well, and water. The really incredible part is that this information will be available to both the VETA Mikumi and our NSCC team by connecting our data-logging unit to the internet.
I’m really excited to be learning more about the Arduino microcontroller, which is the basis of our custom designed data-logging unit. The Arduino is an open-source, inexpensive piece of hardware that takes in all of our sensor information, packages it up, and can send it to an online host. Jon MacDonald, an employee of NSCC Waterfront Campus’ Applied Research Lab, wrote a program for the Arduino to accomplish this, so I’m now working with Jon’s code to customize it to our sensors and troubleshoot any unforeseen difficulties. Pictured here, is Gord Wilkie (NSCC faculty) and Selemani Mbaga (VETA Mikumi’s IT Vocational Tutor), who is learning to use to the Arduino and assisting with the computer networking needs of the project.
As an electronic engineering technician, this project is an incredible learning opportunity for me. It is opening my eyes to the power of solar energy and the endless possibilities of data collection using simple, inexpensive electronics. It will be very exciting to see how this data is used in the future – imagine NSCC and VETA Mikumi both being able to monitor the condition and operation of the well, pump, and solar panel system or a researcher observing how long term climate changes are affecting the amount of well water available in rural Tanzania. The possibilities are truly endless!
Electronic Engineering Technician Student
NSCC Marconi Campus