Provide Solar Power/Boost Cell Phone Signal - Los Encuentros
Organized by: christine schraeder
christine schraeder via Crowdrise
August 25, 2014
EVENT DATE Aug 08, 2014
I will be going to Los Encuentros, Nicargua with Grid Alternatives to help build a 1.38 KW, off-grid, photovoltaic system on a primary school to provide light and more educational opportunity for the residents. We've added scope to try to install 3G cell phone repeater to stabilize the extremely "spotty" cell phone coverage for the community to improve communications as well as begin to access the internet. Los Encuentros is a quaint town tucked away deep in the foothills of the mountains of Matagalpa where there is no road access. One must walk a narrow, winding footpath 45 minutes from the main dirt road.
The community consists of 36 houses, some clustered around the school, and others about 20 minutes walking distance from each other. The main economic activity in the community is agriculture however, there are a number of families who make a living raising cattle and tanning cow hides to prepare leather to be sold and made into leather goods at the local market in Darío.
The school consists of three classrooms and was built in 1997 by the Nicaraguan government. There are a total of 81 students (preschool through sixth grade), three primary school teachers and one preschool teacher. Families in Los Encuentros use kerosene lamps in their homes to see at night. Although cell phone service is currently poor in the area, there are 12 cell phones in the community. We hope to greatly improve their existing signal by installing a repeater.
The 1.38 kW PV system will provide the school with AC electricity (lights and power outlets). Members of Los Encuentros agree that given the large student population and the growing needs of the community, the school could greatly benefit from having a PV system. The photovoltaic system will provide not only lights and power for the school but would serve as a central charging place for cell phones and other appliances in the community.
Update: 7/19/2014 - Members of the in-country part of the team have measured a respectable signal in the town, itself. Installing a repeater should prove to be a viable improvement!!
Update: 8/3/2014 - Just got word that they have finished a rufimentary road into the village. So, provided it doesn't flood out (which is very possible) we will be tumbling into the village in the back of a truck! :)