Neal Yuan, 2011, Molecular Biology

The Beacon Solar Energy Project in Sierra Leone was designed to help improve the care at an amputee clinic run by Dr. Bailor Barrie and the National Organization for Welbody (NOW) in the eastern Kono region. By installing solar panels, which eliminate the unsustainable costs of using a diesel generator, the clinic will be able to run more advanced medical equipment including an X-ray machine and an ultrasound machine, as well as provide care well into the night. The trip this summer successfully accomplished our dual goal of providing renewable energy for the clinic as well as inspiring dialogue and excitement over future uses of solar energy in Sierra Leone. For this project, we collaborated with the Sierra Leone-based NGO Energy For Opportunity (EFO). EFO was critical in helping with in-country logistics and providing significant technical insight into our designs. We also worked with three students from the Government Technical Institute who were enrolled in one of the country’s first renewable energy engineering programs and were able to gain hands-on experience through our project. EFO has volunteered to be the on-the-ground contact for future technical assistance with regard to the energy system. We left a fully functioning system, and will receive weekly reports on the system’s generation and the clinic’s consumption of energy. The system contains twelve 175W panels, eight 12V 225a/h batteries, an inverter, and a charge controller.