Nearly one billion people do not have access to electricity today; of those, more than 75% live in Africa. The problem is especially widespread in East Africa, where more than half of Ethiopians lack access.
It will take many steps, large and small, to address this pressing need. For the past couple of years, Intersolar North America (ISNA) and Energy Storage North America (ESNA) have teamed up with Twende Solar, a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering under-resourced communities with renewable energy systems. The goal of the partnership is to provide energy-impoverished communities with greater access to lighting, cooking, communications and education through donations from the Equipment Sponsors of ISNA/ESNA’s annual Solar Games installer competition.
The Solar Games is the industry’s first solar and storage installation competition. Taking place live in a stadium setting within the ISNA/ESNA expo hall, the tournament-style contest puts U.S.-based teams head-to-head in timed matchups as they build residential solar and storage systems. Winning teams advance to the next round, ultimately competing in the championship for the chance to take home a share of the $16,000 in total cash prizes and the title of Solar Games Champion.
At the close of the most recent Solar Games in January, the systems and accessories were donated to Twende Solar of behalf of the sponsors, and augmented by additional donations of equipment, services and funds.
Later this year, Twende Solar will deliver and install a solar + storage system for the Wogagen School in Debre Birhan, Ethiopia. The Wogagen School provides educational and vocational training opportunities for the students and the greater community of Debre Birhan. Twende Solar will perform the campus installation and train local experts to maintain the systems.
Students and community members will benefit from:
- A fully powered computer lab
- Security lighting to protect the facility
- A well-lit community space for local microenterprises to work at night
This project would not have come to fruition without the support of Solar Games’ sponsors who provided panels, batteries, inverters and associated equipment.
“This industry’s capacity for philanthropic giving is very gratifying. Donations like this create opportunities in communities that have historically been disadvantaged and unable to access the benefits of solar power,” said Marissa Johnson, executive director of Twende Solar.
2022 sponsors included:
- Panels: Heliene Solar
- Racking: K2 Systems
- Mounts: RoofTech
- Batteries: Rolls Battery Engineering and Electriq Power
- Grid-tie Inverter: Electriq Power
- Off-grid Inverter: Midnite Solar
- Rapid Shutdown: Midnite Solar
- Pallets: PVpallet
The installation at the Wogagen School is scheduled to take place in late 2022, giving the community new access to clean, renewable power. To learn more about the project and ways to help, click here.
“Thanks to the generous support of our sponsors, we can continue to help communities in need through the annual Solar Games. We are excited to see much of this year’s equipment, valued at more than $50,000, help to provide so many benefits to the Wogagen School in Ethiopia. We look forward to another highly competitive and ultimately rewarding Solar Games in 2023,” said Wes Doane, event director, Intersolar North America and Energy Storage North America.
The 2023 Solar Games will be held at Intersolar North America and Energy Storage North America 2023, taking place February 14-16 in Long Beach, California. Solar Games installer team applications opened on June 1. Interested sponsors are encouraged to contact Hannah Schnyder, Solar Games Event Coordinator.
News item from Intersolar North America