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Spreading the Solar word in Southern Africa

A Solar Energy Seminar – the first of its kind – was held in Botswana in early February. Hosted by Victron’s Andre du Rand, some of it’s 36 delegates – engineers, installers and members of Solar Industries Association of Botswana – travelled hundreds of kilometres to learn how to program, configure, and install solar-energy systems.  The continent has huge potential for us …under African skies where grid electricity is by no means widely available.

Emphasising Off-Grid solutions, the seminar show-cased the new ‘Smart’ range of Victron products with a demonstration of how they can be controlled using VictronConnect.

From left to right: Anesh Lahka; Andre du Rand; Gavin Hobson; James Frank; Mike Kirby; James Venter.

Attendees received a well-rounded and informative presentation due to the efforts of speakers from several organisations:  Age Technologies (combiner boxes/system balancing); Innomatic Solar (Fronius distributor); Bluenova (Energy Storage Manufacturer) and Freedomwon (Lithium storage for car/home)- together with Andre Harrison – who as a Victron Authorized Installer has plenty of experience from the coal face.

With all that expertise on hand attendees gained a good understanding of  the potential of remote power installations with Lithium(LiFePo4) battery integration (design and safety instruction); Surge protection; and AC/DC combiner boxes for large-scale arrays.

On the second day the training was extended to include grid-tie self-consumption systems, and to demonstrate the neat features of the CCGX – such as Generator auto Start/Stop. Training workshops were then available to individuals or groups with specific queries.

Present at the training, and taking a very keen interest in the proceeding was Karen Gifford an executive member of the Solar Industries Association of Botswana. She says: “The Association’s role is to enhance the solar sector through promotion of quality, standards, self regulation, dissemination of knowledge, capacity training and providing a voice to the private sector. This course has been valuable to the solar industry in Botswana enabling participants to directly interact with products through guidance from experts, bringing confidence for retailers and technicians in application as well as various component compatibility.”

Following on from the success of the event Andre du Rand is planning a Large Systems seminar later this year.

Justin Tyers


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