Hello and a very happy 2022 to everyone!
I am writing today with some exciting updates on our Minigrids projects.
As you will recall, for each community where we are working, there are several steps that we follow. The first is a coordination with the Government of Lesotho's Department of Energy and the UNDP - who is cosponsoring these efforts in Lesotho - to identify the communities best fit to be electrified using minigrids and to secure rights from the government to be the electricity provider in that location. The second is to send a team out to the community to meet the community members and create a detailed map of the location (more details below). The third converts the data collected in the community into a detailed engineering plan for the minigrid, and the fourth is construction!
In 2022 so far, our team has made progress on all of these points. We have secured permits for all our sites, and excitingly, completed the last site survey at Ribaneng just this past month! I am including a number of photos with this report to give you a flavor of what these visits are like for our team. During the visits, which are typically about two weeks long, the Onepower team meets with small groups of community members in meetings called "pitsos" in Sesotho. The pitsos are an opportunity for our team to explain to the communities about the project, the process, and the estimated timelines - i.e., how long until the lights will be switched on? Our team also collected information about the community such as: what are the GPS coordinates for every building? how many people live in each building or, for buildings that are not houses, what is the use of each building? which areas are appropriate or inappropriate for installation of infrastucture - for instance, cemetaries or areas of rocky outcropping that should be avoided in our engineering design? In the photos you will also see some of the wonderful experiences we get to experience in rural Lesotho, a lightning but also rainbow capital, but one that has its own unique type of road rules.
Our dedicated team of software engineers has also been working hard on digitizing all of the data from the 10 community visits, converting these numbers and scribbled maps into the information needed to decide how many PV panels do we need? where should we install poles? how thick do we need the wires to be that run between the poles? In essence, this is the step of converting the field data into an engineering design so we can start to lay out the sites and order components.
Finally our newly grown team of lineworkers - up to 25 now! - has started working on plans for construction. Creating processes for laying out the sites - marking locations for poles, numbering poles and buildings, mapping the engineering plan onto the actual spaces in the community. The first community where construction will begin will be Mashai - and I am looking forward to sending you updates on that progress in the next report!
With that I would like to extend another grateful set of thanks to all of you for your continued support over the years! Best wishes for the coming months, whether that be spring or fall for each of you.
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