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Keeping a College Running During Power OutagesTanzania

Mikumi Solar Project – The Tanesco Electrical Power Supply Company is the government run utility that provides power in Tanzania. Most of the power is hydro and Tanzania is growing rapidly. Frequently there are power shortages especially during the dry season. The power is switched off here at the Mikumi Vocational Education Training Authority (VETA) frequently and without notice. When that happens a diesel engine is started manually at the main electrical entrance. A switch is thrown to ensure that the power does not go out to the grid but, since the meters are located on the individual buildings, the electrical meters spin and Mikumi VETA also pays for the diesel. They pay twice for their power.
Getting the diesel to the engine is an undertaking. The engine is sitting on the tank. If the power is out for a day then the tank is filled manually with a funnel from barrels that are stored in their warehouse. The barrels are filled at a local gas station.
Ours is a pilot project and we are planning to install three 250W photovoltaic (PV) panels that will keep a small load selected by the college operating mostly by the sun and also during power outages.  
Before leaving we hope to make a business case for fixing the metering issue. Given the cost and difficulty of keeping the power running and given that we are at the equator and the sun is beaming, we also hope to make the business case for offsetting electrical and diesel consumption by installing solar panels everywhere!

Cynthia Rogers

Faculty, Mechanical Engineering Technology

NSCC, Waterfront Campus

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