To ensure a constant power supply an emergency power system, consisting of an accumulator charged by photovoltaic panels (power backup system), was installed. Should there be a power breakdown of the net, the classrooms can be lit using the stored energy.
The energy cost for the teacher and employee buildings can be calculated separately since the installation of a new transformer. This in turn has lowered the costs for students by 75 percent.
Thanks to several larger donations the project was realized sooner than expected. Beat Oetiker, electrician and father of a former Stiftsschule pupil, spent two months of unpaid vacation in Namwala to supervise and help with the project. Together with the school’s caretaker George Mubiana he installed energy saving bulbs as well as new cables and switches in all of the buildings. With this update the most time-intensive part of the project was completed. In 2011 caretaker George Mubiana and metalwork teacher Christopher Mukuwa participated in a 5 day course at the solar-supplier Suntech and did well.
In 2014 solar streetlights were installed outside the dormitories. In March 2015 George Mubiana and Andreas Moor installed the power backup system for the first 1×3 classroom-block. Soon George will install the power backup system for the second 1×3 classroom-block.
Above is a diagram showing the electric supply of the individual buildings (status 2010). The green buildings are equipped with power backup systems and energy saving bulbs. The yellow buildings only have energy saving bulbs. In the red buildings the lighting still has to be updated. So far a total of 100,000 francs have been invested in this project.
Mr. Amos Makasa, the former principal of Namwala Secondary School, has summarized the experiences with the power backup system within the first months in an e-mail:
It gives me great pleasure to talk about the accomplishments at Namwala Secondary School especially when I listen to what others are saying.
- From grade 12 examination supervisor: It is a heavenly gift! Biology practical exam could have been impossible to run.
- Pupils: It is superb. They have never seen anything like this anywhere! For the first time in so long a time, prep went on smoothly without interruption. Simply incredible!
- Teachers: Simply fantastic! Printing of end-of-term exams was easy with no panicking. Each one of us should subtract some years from our own life and add them to Hannes’ life span!
- DEBS office: Tell him to think of us too! (DEBS: Erziehungsdepartement)
Honestly speaking, when we thought of the power backup system, we did not imagine it could come to this. This experience is not Zambian, maybe not even African. It is incredible that the batteries have supplied power to the school for literally 24 hours when ZESCO power has failed, and it has failed several times this season.