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Solar Electricity for the Developing World

March 21, 2015 - March 28, 2015










Class Description:
Learn about solar electricity for the developing world in the developing world! This workshop provides an introduction to stand-alone solar-electric (PV) system design and installation, with a focus on small, rural systems. The workshop combines classroom sessions with a strong emphasis on real-world projects in the community, along with hands-on labs. You will have the opportunity to understand, design, and install lighting and cell-phone-charging systems that can dramatically improve the living conditions of the local people. This is an experiential program, with a real-world focus. Come and learn by doing, sharing, and experiencing on projects in the developing world.

Topics include:
o Basics of Electricity
o Meters
o PV System Terminology & Components
o Designing for System Efficiency
o Energy Efficient Appliances
o Safe Installation
o PV Cells, Modules, & Arrays
o Series/Parallel Principles
o Establishing System Voltage
o Solar Site Analysis
o Orientation, Tilt Angles, & Shading
o Mounting Options and Hardware Selection
o Batteries
o Controllers
o Inverters
o Wiring, Overcurrent Protection, Disconnects, & Grounding
o Technology Transfer in the Developing World

For millions of poor, rural people around the world, solar electricity may provide the first electric lights a family has seen, replacing darkness at sunset with the opportunity to read, study, or recreate after a day of work. This hands-on workshop teaches how give this amazing technology to the people who are most in need. In the classroom portion, workshop participants will gain a basic understanding of the principles of small, stand-alone solar-electric systems and their design and installation. In labs and in three real-world installations, participants will learn in by doing, while helping improve the lives of local people.

In our thirteenth year at Rancho Mastatal, this workshop builds on past success in the region. Our program is focused on learning through hands-on work. We’ll spend about one-third of our time in the classroom, studying solar electricity technology basics. The rest of our time will be in the field or lab, getting our hands dirty, learning by doing. The course is taught in both English and Spanish. Price includes dorm bed or camping, all meals and in-country transportation. Private accommodation may be available at additional cost (contact Rancho Mastatal). Ask about options for family members not taking the workshop.

Teacher Bios:
Ian Woofenden has lived off-grid with wind electricity, solar electricity, solar hot water, and wood heat on an island in the Pacific Northwest for the last 30+ years, where he raised his large family, ran multiple businesses, and now focuses on educational work in the renewable energy industry. His roles in the industry are:
• Senior editor for Home Power magazine since 1998, where he writes about wind electricity and other renewable energy topics, and works with authors and readers.
• Renewable energy program developer and coordinator since 1996,  pioneering educational programs in renewable energy for the Northwest U.S. and Costa Rica.
• Wind electricity instructor for various private organizations.
• Occasional tower jockey and crew member on wind installation teams.
• Co-author of Power from the Wind by Dan Chiras, and author of Wind Power for Dummies.
• Founding member of the Small Wind Conference coordinating committee
• Co-moderator of the small-wind-home discussion listserv
• Member of the NABCEP wind resource guide committee.
• Independent consultant and salesperson for residential and small commercial renewable energy systems.

• Language class is taught in: Unknown email [email protected]

• Cost/Accommodations:
$1,285, includes program, all meals, dorm lodging, and in-country transportation

— Food Options: Vegetarian

• Directions:

Driving from San José
Take the highway out of the capital going towards Ciudad Colón and Puriscal (sometimes referred to as Santiago). We recommend you drive during the day. To get to the highway from downtown San José, take Paseo Colón west, until you hit Sabana Park, then take a left, and follow the signs to Escazú/Ciudad Colón. If you are coming from Alajuela or the airport, you will have to head towards San José before picking up the highway to Ciudad Colón. A local map will be very helpful. On the way to Ciudad Colón, you will pass the town of Santa Ana.  The highway can get a little confusing just before getting to Ciudad
Colón.  Make sure that you follow the correct signs.  DO NOT HEAD TOWARDS CALDERA.  In Ciudad Colón follow the one-way streets and signs towards Puriscal. You will then climb up and out of the Central Valley, and pass through the Quítirrisi Indian Reserve. From Ciudad Colón, it’s about 40 minutes to Puriscal. Once in Puriscal, follow signs to Parrita/Quepos. Once outside of Puriscal, continue on the main road through the towns of Santa Marta, La Palma, Salitrales, and other small communities. The paved road ends about 15 kilometers outside of Puriscal. About 1 hour and 15 minutes after leaving Puriscal and soon after passing by the entrance to the administrative offices of La Cangreja National Park, you will arrive to an intersection. A small run-down bus stop and a few signs, one announcing “Mastatal”, mark the junction. Make this left hand turn, and continue for 6 kilometers until you arrive to the town of Mastatal. There is one intersection along this road. Stay left and continue down the road. As you enter Mastatal, we are the house on the left with the red roof. There is a black gate that marks the entrance to the Ranch.




March 21, 2015
March 28, 2015
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Rancho Mastatal
Costa Rica
506 2200-0920
View Venue Website


Ian Woofenden

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