PRESENTATION of “RenewABLE Against Covid” Results:

Under the Lockdown the “Grand Challenges” Sapienza Engineering Students are realizing PV Plant for Health Centers in Africa

Creating photovoltaic systems to help rural communities has always been the reason that pushes Tecnologie Solidali to an intense and continuous commitment. How is it possible to support those who need it most in a lock-down world?

Sapienza Engineering students started the Renew-ABLE against COVID (Rinnov-ABILE against COVID) project involved Italian and African students and professional associations reunite remotely, creating a vibrant online community of researchers, technicians, and students to give practical help to rural communities in East Africa and this thanks to the “Grand Challenges Scholars Program”

The initiative countered the COVID emergency as it supported the construction of photovoltaic systems to ensure the necessary energy supply to health centers also given a very likely increase in electricity demand. Photovoltaic technology chosen to meet the needs of energy that could be accessible and reliable to all, even where the national electricity grids are unable to provide an adequate service in quantity and quality.

This project aimed at 12 health centers located in Kenya where normal activities often hindered by sudden and daily power outages. Among these, the center of Nchiru, in the Meru region, chosen as a pilot project, as it was the only one that the students were able to visit during the FSA in January 2020.

Nchiru, managed by the AINA Association, one of the DREAM (Disease Relief through Excellence and Advanced Means) health centers, deals with the prevention and treatment of the COVID virus, cooperating with the community of S. Egidio, which, with the students of Sapienza and Elettrici Senza Frontiere (ESF), promotes health initiatives by fighting viruses, HIV and malnutrition.

The Faculty of Engineering of Sapienza, through the international research group “Field Study for Mini-Grid Optimization” (FS4MGO) and Tecnologie Solidali Onlus, carried out the data analysis while some Professors provided training within the Micro-Grid Academy (MGA) of the RES4Africa Foundation.

Thanks to this project, the students of Sapienza and the Alumni of the micro-grid academy received the thanks of the Community of S. Egidio and the AINA onlus of Kenya for the work carried out in a fundamental moment for the repowering of this health center.

All the projects on paper will be realized in reality, as demonstrated by the Nchiru center where the upgrading works were completed in November 2020, thanks to the collaboration between Elettrici Senza Frontiere and a local company called SolarEdge, in addition to the replacement of the old ones lamps with LED ones to further reduce consumption and operating costs.

All this is Renew-ABLE against COVID.