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Solar Power Resources for Designing PV Systems in Rural Computer Projects

By Wayan Vota on June 24, 2011

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There are two recent developments that have significantly lowered the cost of solar power systems for powering computer installations in remote or rural areas:

  1. The power consumption requirement of low-cost computers and peripherals has come down considerably.
  2. The cost of solar panels has dropped dramatically, with some panels selling in the US for as much at 70% less than typical 2008 prices.

If you are thinking about deploying computers in remote rural locations or in countries with erratic grid power, the cost of reliable, long-term, low-maintenance power has never been lower. To help you, we have developed these solar power resources ICT projects:

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White Papers and How-to Guides:

  1. Solar Power for PC Deployments: Enabling ICT Beyond the Grid provides basic knowledge to help the reader prepare a budget for a solar deployment, and to be able to effectively communicate the requirements to an installer.
  2. Inveneo Solar Power Deployment Guide is a how-to guide to specify, design and build a small-scale self-contained solar power system, emphasizing a “hands-on” approach with step-by-step methods to designing and building truly practical solar systems.
  3. Off-Grid Solar Power Solutions Webinar is an interactive discussion of solar power options with Bernd Nordhausen of Intel and Bob Marsh of Inveneo that combines the two resources listed above

Insolation Maps:


Planet Earth

Central & North Africa
North-West Africa
North-East Africa
Southern Africa
Northern part of South America
Southern part of South America
Central America & Caribbean
All of Africa, insolation in kW/m2/day

Miscellaneous technical information:

Ohm’s Law and Power tutorial
Grounding/Earthing#1
Grounding/Earthing#2
Batteries, how to estimate state of charge
Wire size tables for different system voltages
Power consumption of typical appliances and equipment (use with caution)

Sample Solar Panel data sheets:

Sunwize 130W poly-crystalline
Sharp 80W poly-crystalline
Sharp 115W-128W thin-film panels
SolarWorld 230W mono-crystalline for 24V or higher systems

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Wayan Vota is a digital development entrepreneur and the co-founder of ICTworks. He also co-founded ICT4Djobs, ICT4Drinks, Technology Salon, JadedAid, MERL Tech, ICTforAg, Kurante, OLPC News and a few other things.
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