What is the most memorable thing for you working in Salonga?
Jean-Philippe Denruyter: I was struck by the kindness of the people in Salonga and by their willingness to cooperate. They also have developed a knack to find solutions for almost everything with the limited means that are locally available. And finally, the beauty of the landscapes, the air and the scents that emanate from the vast forest, are truly mesmerising.
Figuring out the optimal installation
How can we assure the longevity of solar installations in Salonga?
For our larger installation in the camp, we need a good design that ensure the main components (batteries, charge controllers, inverters, solar modules) will last for a long time. We should connect the installation to the internet so that we can follow performance on a daily basis. Regular maintenance by local technicians is also crucial. And, impotantly, we should limit the amount of new loads connected to the system. Each solar PV installation is meant to provide electricity for a certain amount of electric devices. If suddenly more fridges are connected, more lights etc. the system will suffer and, in the end, die.
For the smaller PV systems, maintenance and good use is key. That is why Barefoot College women are so important.
»Regular maintenance by local technicians is also crucial.«