- Hello Everyone...
I'm sorry that I wasn't able to attend the HREG meeting yesterday. However, I wanted to send you information about the Solar Energy workshop I attended in Nicaragua. The next trip is in August. It really is a great experience, regardless on what level you are involved with renewable energy...
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
EXPERIENCE SOLAR CULTURE IN NICARAGUA
An opportunity to offer your hands, heart, and a unique gift:
Electricity to a rural community in Nicaragua!
The Grupo Fenix invites interested parties to participate directly in its
development and vision. We offer an 11-day workshop/tour in which
participants learn about solar energy systems, study applications
specific to Central America, visit renewable energy installations, and
install a PV lighting system in a rural village. The program includes
recreational and cultural activities as well as excursions. The next
10-day workshop will run from the 5th of August to the 15th, 2003. The
cost of the entire trip, excluding air fare and airport expenses, is $850
per person, which includes a $200 subsidy towards a solar equipment for
the village where we will work. Another $100 goes to improvement funds
in the barrio and villages areas where Fenix is working. The extra cost
for staying on longer should amount to around $25 per day, depending on
the type of activities and accommodations.
The course will be taught in English (although Spanish ability greatly
enhances your experience of Nicaragua). The Summer course will be taught
by Nicaraguans and include more Spanish
One doesn't often think twice about turning on the light switch. But for
more than 60% of Nicaragua's rural population, this is not even possible:
they have no electricity. For many, the cost of purchasing an electrical
lighting system is way beyond their means. A farm laborer fortunate
enough to have work all month in a country with massive unemployment
makes about $40. His family in the countryside either goes without the
luxury of light, or spends $8-$12 per month on candles and kerosene.
Alternatively, some communities have managed to obtain noisy diesel
generators that are silenced when they run out of expensive scarce fuel,
while others use old car batteries, requiring money to recharge before
they fail within months.
Grupo Fenix was started in 1996 by a group of enthusiastic engineering
students and Professor Susan Kinne at the National Engineering University
(Universidad Nacional de Ingeneria or UNI). They chose the name "Grupo
Fenix" receiving inspiration from the mythical bird of Egyptian sun
worship, the Phoenix, which is forever renewed. This was a perfect
symbol for a group focused on researching and promoting the use of
renewable energy sources. It also expressed the hope of these young
Nicaraguans that their poor, strife-torn country would rise from the
ashes of war and build an enlightened society.
Searching for more technical expertise for her students, Prof. Kinne,
contacted Richard Komp, PhD. in Maine. Trained as a physical chemist,
Dr. Komp had been a proponent of solar energy since the 1960's and
continues this passion as the president of the Maine Solar Energy
Association and of his small company, SunWatt Corporation. Dr. Komp
travels extensively giving workshops aimed at building support for solar
energy. In 1997, Dr. Komp agreed to come to Nicaragua to give workshops
and since then has become a major technical consultant for Grupo Fenix.
Skyheat Associates, an organization that Dr. Komp founded in 1974 and
incorporated as a non-profit educational institution in 1981 [IRS
510(c)(3)], is now the fiscal sponsor of Grupo Fenix in the United
States. For more information on this work, please check out our Internet
site at http://www.grupofenix.org .
Highlights of Course:
* Live with a Nicaraguan Family in the local Managua barrio as well as in
local rural communities as we travel. Receive the famous Nicaraguan
hospitality and take part in everyday activities. Accommodation is basic.
Family provides breakfast and dinner and often includes participants in
optional cultural activities.
* Classroom experience where you will learn about the history and
philosophy of using solar energy, passive solar architecture, active
solar systems for heating water and air, and drying food, a session to
build solar box cookers, and finally sessions on photovoltaic, from
theory of operation of solar cells to actually soldering solar cells
together to make small PV modules.
* Spend several nights and days in a remote rural community gaining
intimate knowledge about the community, and experiencing what it is like
to live without light on the first evening. Install a community PV solar
electric system the next day and celebrate light for the first time the
second night with songs, poems, dancing and cultural exchange.
* Optional day excursions to Colonial Granada, the Indian Markets of
Masaya, the deep volcanic lake of Laguna de Apoya, the small islands near
Granada, Las Isletas, Ometepe, or other options depending on final course
ADDITIONAL DATES: The course is offered twice yearly, once in January
and the other in August. The following session of the course will be
from the 6th of January through the 16th 2004. Prices reflect the
current course and may change for later dates.
Richard Komp, Ph.D., the course advisor and instructor for the
January sessions, is the author of PRACTICAL PHOTOVOLTAICS and has been
working on solar cells since 1960. He has taught numerous courses and
workshops on solar energy all over the world; is currently the president
of the Maine Solar Energy association and has a small photovoltaic
company, Sun Watt Corporation. Richard also teaches graduate courses on
Solar Energy at the UNI.
Susan Kinne, initiator of the solar cultural/course, has been on
staff at the UNI for the past 11 years, originally teaching the
introductory hands on course for electrical and electronic engineers,
currently as a full professor and the director of the Alternative Energy
Sources Project. Susan has worked in the manufacture of silicon wafers
for electronic integrated circuits at Cincinnati Milicron and is the
organizer of the Grupo Fenix.
Nicaraguan Grupo FENIX staff consists of pregrad and recently
graduated engineers and technicians who have made renewable energy their
life mission. The staff has recently grown to include the land mine
survivors who were trained as solar technicians as part of the Canadian
project directed to FENIX thru Falls Brook Centre in New Brunswick.
PAYMENT: A $50 deposit by July 15th 2003 will save you a place in the
course, which will be limited to total of 15 participants. All checks
should be made out to SKYHEAT ASSOCIATES, the non-profit US group that
Richard Komp has been associated with since 1974. The checks can be sent
to Richard Komp's address.
AIR TRAVEL: We can recommend a "Green" travel agency, EARTH ROUTES,
travel@... , 207-326-8635, RFD 1, Box 22-B, Penobscot ME
04476. Each airline ticket plants three trees through Seed Tree.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: Richard J. Komp, Skyheat Associates, RR 2
Box 7751, Jonesport ME 04649, e-mail: sunwatt@... ,phone:
207-497-2204, Barbara Atkinson, e-mail: lightstream@..., or Susan
Kinne, e-mail: skinne1@... Website: http://www.grupofenix.org
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