SOLTRAIN at International Conference on Solar Power Systems


Submitted by Fenni Shidhika, Helvi Ileka and Zivayi Chiguvare
Published 4 years, 8 months ago

The Namibia Energy Institute presented recent Southern African Solar Thermal Training and Demonstration Initiative (SOLTRAIN) activities and promoted solar thermal energy at the International Conference on Solar Power Systems for Namibia (SPSN18) organized by the University of Namibia (UNAM), earlier this year.

Senior Shimhanda an intern student from NEI explaining the solar bakery to the participants

The international conference took place in mid May at the Greta Conference Centre, just outside of Windhoek.

It was attended by more than 100 participants, 90 % of whom were science school teachers from various regions in the country. The remainder of the participants were academic staff, both lecturers and senior students, from local and international universities, private industry representatives and some government officials.

The main objectives of the conference were to:

  • Create awareness, share and gain the latest knowledge and development trends on solar energy systems
  • Discuss the implementation of cost recovery systems
  • Educate high school teachers on the use of solar energy systems for economic and social development, and
  • Design, construct and test simple solar thermal systems.
  • The conference emphasised the role that solar lighting and simple solar thermal systems can play in providing access to basic energy services.

Other important topics included energy access and development of communities, environmental impact of energy extraction, transport and usage, as well as regional energy usage in Africa as a whole, SADC and Namibia, in relation to global energy usage.

The impact of energy access on health, education, and societal well-being was also discussed, along with various other options for its provision.

Staff from the Namibia Energy Institute (NEI), which is the Namibian implementation partner for the SOLTRAIN, demonstrated various types of solar cooker, including solar box cookers, the parabolic cooker and the solar bakery.

Ms. Helvi Ileka presented NEI activities including key outputs from the SOLTRAIN Project such as the Solar Thermal Roadmap, the Center of Competence activities and the results from the monitoring systems.

The Honorable Minister of Mines and  Energy, Tom Alweendo, attended the  last day of the conference and gave his words of encouragement towards energy access for all in the country. He emphasized the value of cooperation between all the various energy stakeholders including government, the private sector and academia, and encouraged them to work together in order to overcome access challenges.

The Minister, school teachers and all participants at the conference, were impressed with how the solar cookers cooked delicious meals and the effectiveness of the solar bakery, with the school teachers showing interest in knowing more about the design and manufacture  of the solar cookers and bakery in order for them to introduce the concepts to their students. Lecturers from UNAM also indicated their interest in introducing the solar bakery concept at UNAM for student research for those studying towards a Master’s of Science in Renewable Energy.

Participants at the conference had the opportunity to taste the delicious chicken wings and potatoes cooked from solar cookers, as well as bread baked from the solar bakery.

Below are some pictures of the participants attended the conference and NEI staff explaining the solar cookers and the solar bakery to the participants and to the Honorable Minister of Mines and Energy, Tom Alweendo.