The interference in the power supply caused by Eskom’s load shedding has disrupted quite a number of businesses that rely upon this utility for power. These disruptions have not only robbed the country of millions of rands, but have negatively impacted on the education system; some schools couldn’t conduct their learning activities owing to these load shadings.
Umhloti Primary School, a learning institution in KwaZulu-Natal could not allow Eskom to temper with its IT lessons. The institution introduced a solar powered PC on its laboratory; the initiative runs completely off grid.
How was this done?
Housed in a shipping container, the lab runs off of batteries which are charged by solar panels attached to the unit. It has a thermal insulation and ceiling fans for temperature regulation and 21 desktop PCs. One of the PCs is a file and print severs. There is lighting inside the container which is provided by means of LED light tubes.
The self-powered lab is designed for non-affluent schools with a lack of infrastructure and is the first in Africa.
The learning facility has 3G internet connectivity and its speed is influenced by the location of the lab.
Founder of giveITback Jonathan Michael said, “Despite the technology used in the solar PC Lab, it is currently the most economical solution available, retailing at only R450 000.”