NewEnergyNews: KENYAN VILLAGE: SOLAR AMBITION NEEDS FUNDING

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    Tuesday, March 27, 2007

    KENYAN VILLAGE: SOLAR AMBITION NEEDS FUNDING

    There must be a grant for this somewhere!

    Tech students design solar energy system for Kenyan clinic but need funds
    Greg Esposito, March 23, 2007 (Roanoke Times)

    WHO
    A group of Virginia Tech engineering students; Getongoroma, a remote southwestern Kenyan village; Rev. Thorney Kirk, an independent minister; Virginia Tech academic adviser Uri Vandsburger and Virginia Tech graduate student advisor Mark Showalter.

    WHAT
    To make things like taking X-rays and refrigerating vaccines at the Kenyan clinic possible, Virginia Tech engineering students have created a prototype system designed to provide about 24 kilowatt hours of solar energy daily (it needs about 18 kilowatt hours daily to function). Solar panels would absorb sunlight during the day, convert it to electricity, store it in batteries and distribute it through a breaker box and outlets in the clinic walls. The students need about $120,000 to build and ship the equipment to Kenya. Funding requests have been turned down.

    WHEN
    Developing presently.

    WHERE
    Virginia Polytechnical Institute and State University; Getongoroma, a remote southwestern Kenyan village

    WHY
    The clinic in Getongoroma is about an hour from the nearest power grid. Its only electricity comes from small solar panels that power a few light bulbs so patients can be treated at night. The Rev. Thorney Kirk, an independent minister, has been coordinating efforts between Tech and the clinic to create more power.

    QUOTES
    "You can look at the numbers and get an idea of what kind of an impact you're going to have," said Garrett Bradley, one of the students who made the trip. "But when you actually see people's faces and talk to people and see the smiles on people's faces, you realize it's real life."

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