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Mikumi Solar Project – Building a solar powered project 11366kms away from home has its design and logistics concerns. Halifax Nova Scotia Canada to Mikumi Tanzania Africa.
The photovoltaic (solar electric generating panels) project was to provide power to the servers at the VETA (Vocational Education and Training Authority) Mikumi campus, whenever their electricity was absent.
Designing the project requires knowing the solar energy available and the electrical load of the servers. With Mikumi having 175% more solar energy than Halifax we were able to select the technical specifications for the major components. The major components were purchased via a third party in Tanzania. They were given these technical specifications with budgetary limitations. Meanwhile back in Halifax students calculated the related other components that we would take with us. These components also included mounting hardware that would not detrimentally impact the roof integrity in Mikumi. We had a few pictures to develop our plan!
After packing up our equipment and making our way to the airport our first challenge was realized, when we had to repack it into lighter parcels. Teamwork to the rescue!
When we arrived in Mukimi only one parcel was missing for a couple of days. On our first working day the disciplinary team of NSCC students was introduced to nine second year electrical students to join our team. Each of our team members took turns introducing the project details to the nine electrical students. After three days they had our plan and started to assemble the equipment.
On day four we were told the principal had another use for our project….. We started this project with the idea that we were to help with the power outages affecting the servers, but the underlying theme was to provide solar energy to help the campus.
Our new direction was to provide electricity to ten accommodation units attached to the campus. These units provide revenue to the school. The principal saw the many advantages of promoting the accommodation units as having stable power to its clients and also promoting their use of solar electric power. The use of solar electric power is not common in this area.
Another wish was for the project to be used a curriculum development for VETA in Tanzania.
With a new plan, each of our team members was set out to find solutions. In the meantime the nine Mikumi students built a working solar enable uninterruptable power supply. Week one complete.
Off to the Safari Simba here we come!

Gord Wilkie
Faculty,Electrical Engineering Technology
NSCC Waterfront Campus

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