Next week, a group of local energy experts will head to Nigeria for 10 days to lead solar training.
The Minnesota Renewable Energy Society
(MRES) in Minneapolis developed the “Light Up Africa” project through its two-year-old international committee. The group will make its first stop at an area hospital, where they’ll show workers how to install a 60-watt solar module lighting system, according to Fran Crotty, one of the committee’s co-chairs.
Their exact itinerary couldn't be shared as of press time.
Committee members will also teach people to put together a solar cell-phone charger and build a soldering station and a solar panel, according to MRES information.
“Technology transfer is mainly what we do,” Crotty says.
Besides helping set up energy-efficient infrastructure, the trainings will “provide the opportunity for [Nigerians] to do a small cottage industry” if they want, she adds.
“We provide technical information that’s always linked to economic development,” she says.
For example, entrepreneurs could start a small business charging cell phones or using solar power for grinding, the MRES website states.
The group will help Nigerians figure out what to build by “listening to them and letting them shape what they want.”
“Solar projects would be helpful in many countries that have problems with unreliable electricity, unsafe lighting, deforestation and poverty,” the MRES website states.
MRES is working with a nongovernmental organization in Nigeria. A couple of committee members happen to be from Nigeria, including Harry Olupitan, who says on the MRES website that the project is a part of a lifelong dream. “My vision is to see every household in Nigeria and in all of Africa at large powered with electricity powered by solar energy,” he says.
Source: Fran Crotty, Minnesota Renewable Energy Society
Writer: Anna Pratt