Episode 239: In Which a Solar Array is Obtained for our Farthest Outpost

If you’ve listened to my recent audio and/or podcasts, you already know that one of the things that’s most frustrating in developing countries is the lack of reliable electric power. Emmanuel was really impressed with the electrical infrastructure in India because here it is the exception, rather than the rule, for the power to be out. In places like Dharamsala, there might be a short outage of 15 minutes in a day, or you might go for days without any interruption. The longest failure I ever experienced was about 4 hours. People take it in stride, but only local commerce can take place during a power failure – it would be a disaster for any Internet-based business, or for any business requiring computers.


Many businesses do have one or more uninterruptable power supplies (UPS) that provide a short stretch of battery power for their computers in the event of a temporary failure, but in Emmanuel’s area in Nigeria, power outages might stretch for a couple of days, so a UPS won’t do any good. And gasoline is scarce and expensive, so a generator isn’t an option.

Solar power has to be one possible answer. Today Brian took a car and drove to purchase a four-panel solar array for Emmanuel to take back to his school.

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