Milburn Grant Funds Upgrades to LLC Computer Lab

REPORT ON UPGRADE ON SOLAR-POWER AND COMPUTER LAB EXPANSION

IN LA’ANGUM LEARNING CENTRE (LLC) IN BUMBOAZIO

 

Bumboazio is a non-electrified community a few kilometers from Langbinsi in the East Mamprusi District of northern Ghana. This community has a school that was been founded and is managed by PAMBE Ghana, a non-profit organization (NGO).

Jak Solar Technologies, a Solar Business entity based in Tamale, was contracted to expand and rehabilitate the existing solar system in the La’angum Learning Centre. The overall assignment was to

a.) re-design, upgrade, procure and install a 3.2kWp solar system of the school computer laboratory, library and Upper Elementary Block and,

b.) rehabilitate the existing DC system for the Lower Elementary Block.

EXISTING SYSTEM

This was made up of twelve 50-watt panels (600Watt peak) system designed to generate about 3,910KWh in a day, depending on the sun.

This typically was to run 10 laptop computers with a one-day autonomy since it is a school. It also included ten 9-watt bulbs in the computer lab as well as security lighting around the lab.

The school also had three separate 100-Watt DC (Direct Current) for lighting in the class rooms and outside for security.

THE NEW SYSTEM

RE-DESIGNING, UPGRADING, PROCURING AND INSTALLING A 3.2KWP SOLAR SYSTEM OF THE SCHOOL COMPUTER LABORATORY, LIBRARY AND UPPER ELEMENTARY BLOCK.

The new system is design to provide power for up to two projectors, 30 laptop computers, 30 AC (Alternating Current) lighting for the computer lab, library, security lights and for all the classrooms on the Upper Elementary Classroom Block.

Solar Power for the Computer Lab and Lighting

The system is made up of 20 pieces of 50watt peak (total 1kWp) panels and 8 pieces of 275watt peak (total 2.2kWp) of Solar panels. Total installed capacity is 3.2kWP (3200 kilo watt peak). The solar panels are mounted on the roof of the building, at the same tilt angle and orientation as the building facing south.

The 20 pieces of the 50watt peak (1kWp) is connected to a controller and six of the 275watt Peak (1.65kWp) is connected to the Growatt 3kva inverter charger Controller 1, and the remaining two (2) 275watt peak (0.55watt peak) is also connected to Controller 2 above.

This forms a 3.2kWp generator which can produce 19200Kwh of power a day considering maximum sunshine of 6 hours a day.

The Inverter

The battery bank is made up of four number 200ah deep cycle batteries connected in series to form a battery bank. This number of batteries was arrived at considering the fact that most of the load (about 90%) will be run during the day when the sun is still available.

The Battery Bank

The selected inverter is hybrid, Growatt 3kVA storage plus. This allows the client or customer to select which power source should be used first, in terms of Battery, Solar or Grid (where Grid is available).

The inverter is programmed for Solar panel/energy to supply power to the load is first priority, and if the energy from the solar is not sufficient to power all connected load, battery energy will supply power to the load at the same time with the solar panels.

Loads

The expected load to connect to the system is 14920wh in a day. Table above are details of the load.

Operations and Maintenance

In comparison with other types of electrical power plants, PV plants require less maintenance. 

The inverters are the most critical components and they tend to be the cause of most major outages in a PV plant. However, inverter technology has improved significantly over the past few years and typical failures, if they occur, often happen during commissioning or very early in the life of the plant and are thus within the warranty period.

Besides scheduled maintenance for inverters, the other activities include periodic washing of the modules and unscheduled maintenance activities, which require minimal staffing.

There are no emissions associated with solar PV systems during operations.

REHABILITATING THE EXISTING DC SYSTEM FOR THE LOWER ELEMENTARY BLOCK

Eight pieces of 255-watt solar PV panels and eight additional 50-watt solar PV panels were procured and added to the existing twelve 50-watt panels. The new system produces about 1,840Wh a day, depending on the availability of the SUN.

  1. The AC System

Each classroom is provided with a socket outlet (15 points in all) to enable the use of a laptop in the classrooms.

  1. The DC System

The three separate 100-Watt solar panels were brought together to supply 20 DC (Direct Current) lighting points for the Lower Elementary Classroom Block.

CONCLUSION

The system was successfully installed and Is performing within expectations.

As time goes by, Jak Solar Tech is willing to assist with further studies and analysis of the system.

Please find below the resizing reports for the School PV system

 

COMPUTERS AND OTHER EQUIPMENT

We acquired 20 new laptop computers (HP), 20 computer mouses and one complete desktop computer to be used mainly as a teaching aid. I did some research on laptops versus desktops for a computer laboratory, given that the GES ICT curriculum and assessments are based on the desktop. Power consumption was the deciding factor.  A desktop needs 2-3 times the amount needed for a laptop! They also need to be plugged in at all times in order to work. Laptop computers are obviously, more suitable for our solar-powered computer lab.

We now have 26 laptop computers and one desktop in the computer lab. We will donate one of the Toshiba laptops to Unity JHS. With this number of computers, the whole class of 35-40 students can be together for a lesson! 

We also purchased two important pieces of equipment; a Canon photocopier/printer with 4 toners, and an Optiva HIFI Speaker System, with two microphones. 

The photocopier/printer, though much more costly than a printer, it is much more economical for printing and photocopying in the long run. It is easy to operate and requires very little maintenance, and toners are much cheaper than cartridges for photocopying.

Thus, it is more suited for heavy-duty copying in school. 

The only downside is that it only makes black and white copies. Luckily, we have a 3-in-all printer for color printing, scanning and copying, if need be.

Optiva HIFI Speaker System is a Public Address System (PAS) we have needed for a long time in the school. Over the years, we have had to hire an often ineffective one from the community for events in the school. Our new PAS arrived in time to be baptized on our Independence Day celebration on March 6th, 2019!

Additionally, we got 20 chairs for our well-deserving teachers instead of a new projector and screen to replace our very old projector.  

 

We are very grateful for the support we continue to receive from the Milburns Charitable Fund at the Oklahoma City Community Foundation.  Thank you!

Prepared by

Alice Azumi Iddi-Gubbels

Rainbow of Hope for Children Provides Funding

Thank you to the Canadian Rainbow of Hope for Children (ROHFC) for providing funding to support the PAMBE Ghana Health, Nutrition and Sanitation Program! rainbow-hope1 The objectives of the project are:rainbow-hope3
  1. To provide mid-day lunches for the students to include purchasing food, the salary of a school lunch coordinator, and hauling and transport of foodstuffs from the community and local markets.
  2. To provide basic health care to the 250 students to include paying the National Health Insurance Annual Premium and purchasing first aid products for the school.
  3. To foster sanitation at the school to purchase soap and sanitary related cleaning products.
rainbow-hope2 Previous support from ROHFC in 2013 and 2014 included the funding of particular staffing and operation and maintenance programs at the La’Angum Learning Center. In 2014-15, ROHFC provided PAMBE Ghana with new infrastructure to improve the facilities, specifically building a library and a technology lab, including a system of collecting and storing rainwater for those using these facilities. ROHFC also assisted the Rotary clubs of Wainwright, Alberta, Watford, Ontario and Tamale, Ghana to install solar panels and computers in the technology lab.

Second Annual PAMBE Ghana Fest, May 8

Want to try new international foods, explore a Fair Trade Global Market and spend an evening outside in lovely gardens? Listen to music, dance and learn about a group of Oklahomans who are supporting a school in Ghana?

Then don’t miss the second annual PAMBE Ghana Fest, 6-9 p.m. Friday, May 8, at St. Paul’s Cathedral, NW 7 and Robinson. Admission will be $8 a person, $15 a couple and free for children 12 and under. Funds from the event will support the La’Angum Learning Center, an innovative, Montessori-based school in northern Ghana.

“Last year the Fest was a fun event with support from friends and supporters of PAMBE Ghana, as well as members of the large Ghanaian community here in Oklahoma,” Board President Susan Kovats said. “This year’s Fest will be another fabulous opportunity to learn about and enjoy the Ghanaian culture.”

PAMBE Ghana is a partnership between local communities in northern Ghana and supporters in Oklahoma. Together they’ve built the La’Angum Learning Center, a new model for education in Ghana — new because it first teaches children in the language they speak and in a child-centered way. The school currently serves pre-kindergarten through fifth grade, but hopes to expand.

“The Cathedral is proud to support PAMBE Ghana,” The Very Rev. Justin Lindstrom, dean of St. Paul’s Cathedral and a PAMBE board member, said. “We are so glad to be hosting the PAMBE Ghana Fest again this year and hope many will come out to enjoy our beautiful gardens, as well as the great food and entertainment."

Bring folding chairs or blankets to enjoy entertainment on the grass. In the event of rain, the Fest will be moved indoors.

Alice discusses PAMBE Ghana on KGOU - World Views

Listen to Alice's conversation with Suzette Grillot on World Views, airing Friday, January 24 between 4 and 4:30 p.m., and again between 6:30 and 7 p.m. The segment will air again Saturday, January 25, between 6 and 6:30 a.m.

Click the KGOU image below to stream Alice's interview, and read the full article by Brian Hardzinski and Suzette Grillot!

KGOU

A generous donation

Mrs. Glady Lariba Mahama, right, Alice Azumi Iddi-Gubbels, left.

Mrs. Glady Lariba Mahama is one of the AC members of PAMBE Ghana, who has been doing very well and working very actively for P.G. She recently paid a courtesy visit to the PAMBE Ghana office, and gladly donated a bag of corn for the lunch of the 131 children of La'Angum Learning Center. Thank you, Mrs. Glady Lariba Mahama! Your generosity is greatly appreciated!

Water is life

We ran out of water completely from the rainwater harvesting cisterns. The 3rd graders and older children from other grades began carrying water to school.  The problem was discussed at a PTA and several options were considered for the immediate relief, including asking mothers to assume the task as before.  However, some women spoke of their already heavy workload and it was decided parents pay GHS 1.00 per child. I agreed that PAMBE Ghana will supplement their contributions to pay for 10 trips of carting water at GHS 25.00 per trip.  The Langbinsi Presbyterian Agricultural Station provides this service. The water is dirty, and unless filtered, is not safe for drinking.  But dirty water also quenches fire! This has really put water in focus even more than before. I submitted an application to the district assembly, and spoke with the water and sanitation team about a feasibility study for a borehole. Luckily for us, a team of water technicians, including hydro geologists, was engaged to do feasibility studies for drilling water wells in the district. With the help of Mr. Alhassan from the district water and sanitation team, I was able to negotiate a two-day study to find if there’s appreciable ground water near the school to merit the cost of drilling a well. They first gathered information on an existing drilled well near the village about a mile and half from the school, as a baseline. They were able to find two possible sites near LLC, one of which had slightly higher potential. I am considering three options to address the water problem. The ultimate goal is to have a permanent source of clean potable water in the school. a)     Drill a well (borehole) close to LLC and mechanize it, after undertaking a “pump test” which will include the quality of the water and yield/min.  Pump the water (with a solar water pump) to an overhead tank. b)     Lay pipes from an existing well (one and half miles away) to LLC and mechanize as above. c)     Build another rainwater harvesting system and continue to expand as the student population increases. According to the feasibility studies just done, option a) will be more reliable and cheaper eventually.

Ghana Independence Day

On March 6, 1957, 56 years ago, Ghana became the first African nation to gain independence from a colonial power (the United Kingdom). Modern Ghana is a combination of the former British Togoland (the Volta Region, along the east) and of the colony known as the Gold Coast. The word Ghana means Warrior King, and is derived from the ancient Ghana Empire. Modern Ghana’s motto is “Freedom and Justice."  The national anthem is “God Bless Our Homeland in Ghana," and is sung before the National Pledge of Ghana. As in the United States, Independence Day is Ghana is marked by parades and fireworks. National Pledge of Ghana I promise on my honor to be faithful and loyal to Ghana my motherland.
I pledge myself to the service of Ghana with all my strength and with all my heart.
I promise to hold in high esteem our heritage, won for us through the blood and toil of our fathers; and I pledge myself in all things to uphold and defend the good name of Ghana.
So help me God.

Reptiles in the Classroom

Hello, Take it that you open a bag of corn, deep your hand inside to fetch, touch something strange, peep inside the bag and see the attached. What will you do? This was the experience one female teacher of the Bumboazio (La’angum) school encountered one early morning in her usual duty to serve the cooks with their usual daily food quantities to prepare school lunch. I wish you were there to see how the teacher and cooks took to their heels. The children without taking to verify as to what was happening also took off after having seen their teacher and cooks racing. Fortunately some 2 male parents passing to Langbinsi came to the aid of the other male teachers to fight and kill this reptile. On one instance, Alice was in the store room alone when a snake entered through the door. You could hear her screaming even from 200 meters away. The school has a lot of these reptiles around the bushes and rocks. The parents do organize communal labour and clear round the school but the reptiles still remain in the holes under the rocks. Teachers and children are terrified, run and classes disrupted anytime they spot one. The teachers and children are worried and does not appreciate how we share our classrooms with these reptiles. This is indeed worrisome and your suggestions on how to control this classroom sharing is highly welcome. Counting much on your advices and suggestions!!! Bukari Baba

In the school store room

  Take it that you open a bag of corn, deep your hand inside to fetch, touch something strange, peep inside the bag and see the feature below. What will you do? This was the experience one female teacher of the Bumboazio (La’angum) school encountered one early morning in her usual duty  to serve the cooks with their usual daily food quantities to prepare school lunch. I wish you were there to see how the teacher and cooks took to their heels. The children without taking to verify as to what was happening also took off after having seen their teacher and cooks racing.   Fortunately some 2 male parents passing to Langbinsi came to the aid of the other male teachers to fight and kill this reptile. On one instance, Alice was in the store room alone when a snake entered through the door. You could hear her screaming even from 200 meters away. The school has a lot of these reptiles around the bushes and rocks. The parents do organize communal labour and clear round the school but the reptiles still remain in the holes under the rocks. Teachers and children are terrified, run and classes disrupted anytime they spot one. The teachers and children are worried and does not appreciate how we share our classrooms with these reptiles. This is indeed worrisome and your suggestions on how to control this classroom sharing is highly welcome

Wishing You A Blessed New Year!

I had a great visit in Alberta, and now with my family-in-law in London, Ontario-Canada. The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree is the presence of a happy family, all wrapped up in each other. May peace, happiness and goodwill be with you and your family during the holiday season and throughout the coming New Year! Alice Azumi Iddi-Gubbels

Donate Today

Your Donation Today Will Help PAMBE Ghana Provide:
-- Teacher's salary
-- Children’s health insurance
-- Montessori materials
-- Teacher education

PAMBE Ghana is a 501(c)(3) registered charitable organization.


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