Solar energy for families in Santo Domingo, Panama

 
$5,938
$13,498
Raised
Remaining

Solar energy for families in Santo Domingo, Panama

Solar energy for families in Santo Domingo, Panama
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Newly installed solar panel in Santa Librada

Newly installed solar panel in Santa Librada
Two locals proudly inspect the solar panel they just installed with our team’s supervision. In December 2007, we traveled to Santo Domingo’s neighbor community Santa Librada and installed solar panels at the school and church to power lights and a refrigerator. The refrigerator preserves food that mothers cook for school children. The lights will change things, too—for instance, when the traveling doctor visits, he’ll be able to work longer and help more people because he’ll have light. (view small | med | large | orig)

Getting panels onto the roof

Getting panels onto the roof
The newly formed Santa Librada solar committee begins installation of the solar panels. The community members are extremely skilled in construction. They built a frame to mount the panel and keep it a few inches off the roof (which maximizes efficiency), and also built shelves for indoor system components and mounted all the wiring. Santo Domingo’s solar committee showed similar cleverness and dexterity in designing and constructing the physical layout of the system. (view small | med | large | orig)

Teaching the community how to install the system

Teaching the community how to install the system
Team member Suelyn Yu demonstrates to Santa Librada’s solar committee how the wiring of the first solar panel system should be done. After that, the community members installed the second system with supervision from our team. The two separate systems powered the lights and the refrigerator we installed at the school and church. The buildings were so close that we could use an extension cord to power lights in the church using the systems installed at the school. (view small | med | large | orig)

Successful installation!

Successful installation!
On the roof of the school, part of the Santa Librada solar committee admires the new solar panel system. The school and church are situated at the center of the community, and function as a gathering place since houses are so far apart (i.e. some people live an hour’s walk from the school). When the community has visitors such as the traveling priest, the doctor, or representatives of local organizations, families stay at the school overnight and the women cook for everyone. (view small | med | large | orig)

Santo Domingo house

Santo Domingo house
Santo Domingo is slightly less spread-out than Santa Librada, but houses are still far enough apart that individual solar panel systems are the most effective way to provide household electricity. The people are subsistence farmers, growing what they need to survive and making only a few dollars a day. Electricity will provide not only a cheaper and cleaner source of light than kerosene lamps, but also power for other appliances—for example, the radio, which connects them to the outside world. (view small | med | large | orig)

Discussing with solar engineer Jorge Calderon

Discussing with solar engineer Jorge Calderon
Using local resources is crucial to making this project work in the long term. We buy our materials from vendors in Panama City in order to (1) build relationships with vendors who can provide resources and expertise for the communities, (2) ensure that all replacement parts will be available to the communities, (3) support the local economy, and (4) save on shipping costs. One especially helpful solar energy-related organization was Luz Buena, where we met solar engineer Jorge Calderon. (view small | med | large | orig)

Planning with our guide Diego

Planning with our guide Diego
Throughout our time in Panama, we’ve worked with Diego Camaño, who has extensive experience in development projects in the area. He assists us with travel logistics, obtaining materials, and communication with the communities not only during our trips, but also between trips during the planning stages. He’s been invaluable to our project, and he’s lots of fun. (view small | med | large | orig)

Teaching the solar committee about the laptop

Teaching the solar committee about the laptop
Santo Domingo’s school and church already have solar panels which were installed during previous trips. However, in December 2007, we added a new component to the school system: a laptop for the community! Here, our team members Christopher Vega and Suelyn Yu explain to the solar committee how the laptop will work within the system. (view small | med | large | orig)

Let there be light!

Let there be light!
Here’s the lighting system in the school of Santo Domingo. Our teammate Adrian Jinich is holding a pink Frisbee and speaking at a community gathering. The lights enable people to gather after dark for various purposes, including meetings or social gatherings. Adrian enjoyed his team trips so much that he went back and spent about 3 months living and working in Santo Domingo and Santa Librada, building relationships and educating people about electrical systems. (view small | med | large | orig)

Funded

Thanks to 118 donors like you, a total of $5,938 was raised for this project on GlobalGiving. Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

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Project Leader

Sumeeth Jonathan

Team Member
Manalapan, NJ United States

Where is this project located?

Map of Solar energy for families in Santo Domingo, Panama