Luck of Engineers
So far we have been looking at how we can promote solar power in sub-Saharan Africa, where there is a shortage of electricity. One of the answers is to train more engineers. We have done field surveys in many countries and have seen many solar PV systems in operation. Most of them were 12V systems with 100W solar panels and a large number of batteries connected in parallel. While it is understandable that people want to store as much electricity as possible for rainy days, the batteries are not affordable and building a 24V system is more efficient.
So why are not many people implementing 24V systems? We believe one of the reasons is a lack of technicians. Even people with no knowledge can easily connect a 12V system, but to build a 24V system you need basic knowledge. In addition, if the power consumption is high during the day, you need a system with several large panels. Technicians are essential for the design and installation of these systems. Technicians who can build these systems have the necessary measuring equipment and can also carry out maintenance.
Avoid direct connection at all costs
Case study in Burkina Faso replaced by solar charger
There are also a number of websites on the Internet that present initiatives using solar systems. When I looked at them, there were many examples of poor connections made by people with no expertise. We want to increase the number of technicians in sub-Saharan Africa who have acquired the right skills from companies with specialist knowledge. We provide internships for visiting students in Japan and teach them the necessary skills. If they can acquire the necessary skills, more efficient solar power generation can become possible in the region. They can also restore neglected solar systems that have not been maintained.