By Steve Hansen & Sohan Das, EVS Engineering

From January 27th through February 1st, the ETI team visited KARUCO and the Rural Opportunity Center (ROC) sites in Karagwe District, Tanzania as part of the ETI/KAD Annual Summit. The solar contingent of this team was Sohan Das, VP of EVS Engineering in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, and Steve Hansen, SVP of EVS. Their goals were to work with KAD Management to:

  1. assess current and future needs of KARUCO and the ROC for energy infrastructure;
  2. create a plan for KARUCO and the ROCs for solar energy using their current and planned electrical demands to size the system;
  3. determine the exact location and size of the solar array(s) for KARUCO;
  4. identify local assistance to help install the system;
  5. make plans to prepare KARUCO students for training in solar installation; and
  6. determine next steps and timeline for installation at KARUCO.

Data verify what seems obvious: Karagwe has a very good resource for solar power

The KAD Management Team enthusiastically supported the development of the solar initiatives. KAD approved Sohan and Steve working with their field team to identify the best locations for solar, firstly at KARUCO. Elgoodness Rwoto, Linda  Mambo and Vincent Mukula of KAD took field measurements and helped analyze variables to help select the location for the first solar array. An unmanned aircraft (drone) was launched to take footage of the two sites identified as locations where the solar arrays will be built. After the installation sites were determined, Sohan inventoried all buildings and water system interconnection points, then estimated the maximum solar system that could be installed on the areas of land identified for the arrays. The team came together to conclude that a 200 Kilowatt array could accommodate over 500 solar panels, and would cover the energy needs at KARUCO.

Elgoodness Rwoto, Linda Mambo and Vincent Mukulu take measurements of one of the solar sites
Steve Hansen & Sohan Das (EVS) work with Elgoodness Rwoto & Brighton Katabaro (KAD)

This aerial shot shows the site selected for the solar arrays to power KARUCO As part of the planning process, Sohan and Steve met with James Limirabo, a solar technician living in the area. James has installed the solar power system at the food processing facility adjacent to KARUCO and which was determined to be high quality by the EVS team. James helped the team understand the installation process in this area of Tanzania, and worked with EVS to help source the components for the solar array. James provided much needed information on identified reputable companies and processes he has worked with in the area in his previous solar installations.
James Limirabo & Sohan Das                      The ETI / KAD Team at KARUCO

Sohan and Steve presented their findings and analysis to KAD and the ROC Task Force during the wrap up of the ETI/KAD Annual Summit. The proposed steps to move forward were approved. Sohan and Steve will take the information gained during the Summit and provide the following:

  • an estimate of costs for procuring the equipment and installing the solar array;
  • potential industry vendors who may consider donating to this project;
  • a training plan for local KARUCO students so they may achieve the maximum benefit of this solar installation; and,
  • a time-line for the implementation of building this solar powered electrical system in Karagwe.

ETI extends a heartfelt thanks to EVS CARES, to EVS Engineering and to the Kim families for the professional assistance and needed resources to make the KARUCO/ROC dream a reality. Sustainable power is coming and hope is palpable. Lives are changed.

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