How the project started
LEDS for Africa is a technical-humanitarian project created by our association to respond to the request to provide electricity to the isolated rural village of Ponta Cabral, Guinea-Bissau. In Quinhamel, the nearest capital, there is the Franciscan mission directed by the Italian-American friar Michael Daniels, co-founder and honorary president of the non-profit association Spirit in Dance. Fra Micheal has promoted a local development plan that aims to achieve various interventions, including land reclamation, village electrification and recovery of typical rice-growing techniques.
Our work is part of this project, whose ultimate goal is to provide the local population with effective, sustainable and sustainable livelihoods. The professors Piergiorgio Alotto and Massimo Guarnieri of the Department of Industrial Engineering, once involved in this initiative, immediately thought that the part related to electrification could be entrusted to our association.
Under the supervision of the two teachers, the goal is to design, purchase and install in situ an electrical network (initially intended for home lighting only) powered by photovoltaic panels and assisted by storage systems. The network, given the isolated and sparse nature of the village, will consist of an autonomous electrical system for each dwelling, which will include a photovoltaic panel, a storage system and a lighting system. One possibility to verify is that of merging multiple homes in microgrids, allowing the reciprocal exchange of power and therefore a more versatile and efficient operation.
Parallel to this, we will also take care of the training of the villagers, in order to include this technology in an informed and self-sufficient social context, to ensure that the population maintains the devices in good condition for years to come. Environmental sustainability will maintain a priority role in our project, in accordance with our fundamental values and with the will to contribute, even in a small way, to the alleviation of energy poverty and its implications in terms of underdevelopment and degradation.
So far we have defined the guidelines and developed the outline project, waiting to be able to carry out an inspection to gather precise information on the topology of the place, the structure of the houses, the composition and the real needs of the families. For the moment, the priority is to obtain the necessary funds to guarantee the complete realization of the basic project (home lighting).
Once the design phase has been completed, the testing and testing phase will be carried out in the laboratory at the University, which will allow to verify the functionality of the systems and to identify all the components, materials and equipment necessary for installation on site. Subsequently, it will pass to the purchase of the materials and to their shipment.
Our forecast is that the total cost of this intervention for about 100 homes will be about € 60,000, including 100 autonomous photovoltaic systems (panel, battery, electronic charge control, cables, LED bulbs, carpentry and small parts), equipment, shipment of material by ship and air travel a / r for a small team of people, who will work on a voluntary basis supported by local labor. We are therefore addressing various institutions and organizations to obtain support and contributions. We are also setting up a campaign to raise awareness and crowdfunding to collect at least part of the amount needed through donations.
Our interlocutors for the moment are: the University of Padua, the Department of Industrial Engineering, the City of Padua, the Giorgio Levi Cases Study Center, Spazio Verde srl, dott.ssa biol. Katia Zanatta, the proff. Guarnieri and Alotto of the DII.