Umhloti Primary gets solar-powered PC lab

Computing

GiveITback, in partnership with Poynting and African Union Communications, has donated the first of its solar-powered computer labs to Umhloti Primary School, in Verulam, KwaZulu-Natal, to create a better understanding of ICT among learners.

Umhloti Primary School principal Badsha Adam says: "By exposing our learners to computers, they will learn how to actively seek information, which we believe will significantly contribute to their development and eventual competitiveness in the job market."

GiveITback is a Durban-based company that specialises in designing and installing complete computer labs for underprivileged schools. The firm claims to have completed more than 20 fully-functioning computer labs throughout the country over the past few years.

The company's solar-powered container lab holds 20 computers and one server, which are specifically developed for poor schools, as they address the lack of electrical infrastructure, building infrastructure and access to technology.

According to GiveITback, the lab is housed in a standard 12m shipping container, which is rust treated, painted and insulated against water and moisture. Being solar-powered, the lab is completely off-grid, and the solar system is designed to run for seven to eight hours before the batteries are depleted. "This will only happen if there's a complete lack of sunlight," says giveITback, adding this is highly unlikely in SA.

"This innovation holds great potential for bringing technology to schools in areas where help is needed most, to give their learners the best chance at a bright future," says Jonathan Michael, founder of giveITback. "Access to ICT is an investment in our country's future and is one of the most valuable gifts the next generation can receive."

Meanwhile, as the country struggles with an under-pressure power grid, an increasing number of solar-powered projects are coming on stream. It was reported towards the end of last year that the Department of Energy has targeted three million South African households to be powered by solar energy by 2030, as alternative sources add to the national power grid.

A total of 47 projects have been awarded 20-year contracts in the R100 billion Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme.

Source: ITWeb 22 January 2015