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Win Government Contracts with Solar Power Computing

By Wayan Vota on June 28, 2010

Electrical power is an issue across Africa – or more accurately, the lack of reliable, affordable electricity is one of the greatest barriers to the adoption of information and communication technologies.

But good businessmen look at barriers and see opportunity. If rural areas lack a reliable national power grid, then develop solutions that do not need that electrical infrastructure and capture market share from technology vendors still waiting for KPLC or NEPA.

Solar Power Computing

Instead of looking to government, look to the sun for electrical power and high-efficiency ICT solutions to use that electricity cost-effectively. You can even use this sample solar power computing setup:

  1. Deploy eight 90W solar panels, three 200Ah deep cycle batteries, two 30A charge controllers using the Inveneo power configuration model.
  2. The solar panels convert sunlight into energy, which is stored in the batteries through the charge controllers. The solar power system is designed to require an average of five hours of sunshine to fully charge the batteries.
  3. Install ten Inveneo High-Performance Computing Stations, one Inveneo R4 server, a wireless LAN hub, and 7W DC lamps. At full charge, the batteries can run the ten computing stations and server for up to ten hours.

Winning Government Contracts

Now that sample setup is nice and all, but your real question is, “Who would buy solar power computing?” And for that I have a good answer and great example.

The Computers for Schools programme in Uganda is an effort by the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) to establish functional computer laboratories with modern equipment in selected schools.

In August 2009, the UCC held a competitive bidding process for a contract to supply computer labs to 52 schools. These schools are all located in regions with limited or non-existent electricity supply, so the computers must rely on solar power.

CLS, a Certified Inveneo ICT Partner, bid and won the competitive tender for 52 ICT centers by offering the best value for the UCC – deploying Inveneo High-Performance Computing Stations and the solar power to operate them using the solution described above. This March, CLS completed the installation of all 52 labs ahead of schedule.

The CLS contract is just one of many government tenders won when IT companies realize the benefits of solar power computing done right. Isn’t it about time you did the same?


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Written by
Wayan Vota co-founded ICTworks and is the Digital Health Director at IntraHealth International. He also co-founded Technology Salon, MERL Tech, ICTforAg, ICT4Djobs, ICT4Drinks, JadedAid, Kurante, OLPC News and a few other things. Opinions expressed here are his own and do not reflect the position of IntraHealth International or other ICTWorks sponsors.
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