In charge of the Uganda project is the association "Together - Hilfe für Uganda e.V", in which SMA employees are involved, among others. The vocational school, still under construction, was connected to the photovoltaic installation's electric supply at the same time as the entire school area: in the future, this vocational school will offer young people a practical education in the occupational areas of agriculture, electrical engineering and bookkeeping, in order to create the basis for a later occupation locally and a sustainable improvement of their living standards.
Until now, the school center, which is about 200 kilometers away from Uganda's capital, Kampala, had access only to insufficient electric power for a few hours a day, provided by a diesel generator. This way, the boarding school's approximately 500 pupils could only study for one or two hours after sunset, which happens very early in this region. Often, the generator was not used at all, because there was no money for diesel.
The successful installation of the photovoltaic plant secures the electric power supply needed for the school's operation and for the future training workshops: a stand-alone installation with a power output of about 10.4 kWp provides the school center with electric power reliably and round the clock. For this, SMA provided the inverters (Sunny Island IS 2224 / Sunny Boy 4000TL-20) and SolarWorld AG donated the photovoltaic modules. The materials for mounting and cabling came from the firm Solartechnik Stiens GmbH and Co. KG.
SMA's support for the project was not only material: eight SMA employees used their summer vacation to build the plant in Kooki. The team was supported by one employee from Solartechnik Stiens and three members of the organization in charge of the project, the "Together - Hilfe für Uganda e.V.".
Along with the construction of the plant, training courses pertaining to the PV installation were conducted. "Along with the actual installation of the plant, it is especially important for us to involve the locals", explains Mario Vogel, head of the project at SMA. "In this way we do not only secure the proper operation and maintenance of the plant, but we simultaneously promote the transfer of knowledge regarding the multifaceted application possibilities for PV installations."
Under the label Solar2World, SolarWorld AG combines projects which make a worthwhile contribution to local development in emerging and developing nations. "Electrification is decisive to fair development in poorer regions of this earth. Once more, the project shows how to help locally with uncomplex funds.", explains Chief Executive Officer of SolarWorld AG, Frank H. Asbeck.
SMA has been supporting the "Together - Hilfe für Uganda e.V." association's development projects for some years, and the greater portion of the employees' yearly Christmas donations are used for this cause. This way, SMA will also be involved in the future in the further outfitting and the educational concept of the vocational school in Kooki.
Background of PV Stand-Alone Systems
More than two billion people still do not have access to electrical power. Stand-alone electricity systems allow for the generation of electricity independently of a central supply and an electricity grid. These systems, which allow for extension through additional generators and consumers without entailing greater technical expenditure, can be used to provide power for remote regions far from a grid, thus promoting their development.
About SMA Solar Technology AG
SMA generated sales of more than 680 million Euros in 2008 and is the worldwide market leader for photovoltaic inverters, a key component of all solar power plants. The SMA Group is headquartered in Niestetal, near Kassel, Germany and is represented by foreign subsidiaries in eleven countries on four continents. The Group employs a staff of over 3,000 (including temporary workers). The SMA product portfolio includes a comprehensive range of inverters, offering a compatible inverter for every type of photovoltaic module and for all plant sizes. The product range covers inverters for photovoltaic plants connected both to the grid and inverters for off-grid systems. Since 2008, the company has been listed on the Prime Standard of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange (S92) and also on the TecDAX. In recent years, SMA has received numerous awards for its excellence as an employer.
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