Solar training

For the past 5 years, Jacana has mainly focused on water for Zambia. We feel that we have made a significant impact in the eastern province of Zambia. By now, three SMART training centers have been established, more than 70,000 people got access to water and this number will increase in the coming years, because the demand remains high. The entrepreneurs in the water sector have united in a cooperative and they can provide many people with water, also thanks to your help.

As Jacana, we thought it was time to train another group of entrepreneurs as well. After research, we found that there are no entrepreneurs in Eastern province of Zambia who can design and install solar systems. We jumped into this gap, since Zambia has quite a few electricity problems and the electricity grid does not cover all of Zambia.

In order to make a good selection of entrepreneurs, we put out a call via flyers and the internet to look for young people who have experience with electrical systems. 19 people were selected for an interview and from them 12 were selected for a business, financial and marketing training prior to the technical solar training. From this entrepreneurial training 10 people remained and together with another 4, who already had a business training, the technical solar training started on February 21.

In the technical training the participants learn to find the best fitting and most cost efficient configuration for customers. The aim is to use components, which are already available locally. Participants learn to look critically at specifications and quality of these components and keep their eyes open for new developments. They learn to use the latest techniques to check and optimize the solar designs.

Before participants learn which solar systems are appropriate for customers, basic electrical principles were repeated and features in settings of solar components, such as controllers, inverters, batteries and solar panels, were addressed.

This is a new subject for the participants. After this knowledge was well established, the design of solar systems was discussed:

  1. How much electrical energy does the customer use?
  2. Calculate system losses.
  3. Calculate the required power of the solar panels.
  4. Calculating the battery capacity.
  5. Checking and optimizing using geographical solar statistics.
  6. By varying the number of solar panels and batteries, costs and the number of nights when the batteries are running low can be minimized.
  7. Choosing components, such as controllers, inverters, fuses, lightning protection and cabling.
  8. Documenting the design.
  9. Installing the system.

The last step “installation of solar systems” is being covered in the second week and at the time of publishing this newsletter this training is going on under the guidance of Maarten Elffers and his team. Maarten is Dutch and has been living in Zambia for 25 years, he installed the first telephone masts in all Zambian districts and now has his own solar company and thus much knowledge of the local market.

Development requires energy.

Let’s for example enable children to study after sunset.

Many small businesses can significantly increase their productivity with a little energy. For instance:

  • a shopkeeper who sells food can keep his goods longer fresh with a refrigerator,
  • someone can charge phones for his or her fellow villagers,
  • a hairdresser may start using a clipper.
African solar etc. shop

To ensure that the newly trained entrepreneurs get enough experience, we are still seeking funds so that the entrepreneurs can install a simple solar system at their homes. In doing so, they will gain experience and have a design and a system that they can show to their potential customers. All systems will be checked by Jacana before going operational.

Your small contribution will make this possible and will also make a big difference to a Zambian family. The Kringloop winkel Castricum and Rotary Club of Niagara-on-the-Lake already participate, you too?


  • € 6,190 raised now, still € 3,810 of € 10,000 needed. 62%

Please donate here

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