Announcment - Solar-Cultural Course in Nicaragua in August
- Dear Everybody,
Here is the announcement of the next session of our Grupo Fenix
www.grupofenix.org Solar-Cultural course in Nicaragua from the 31st of
July thorugh the 11th of August 2005. We have just finished the January
session and have made a few changes to the course as a result of the
course evaluation held on the last day of the course. The biggest
change is the price, it is now $1050 for the 12 day course. We had not
changed the price since 2000 and in that time the US Dollar has lost over
1/3rd of its value compared to the Euro, Pound and other hard currencies
and the Nicaraguan Cordoba has sunk even faster. This inflation has
taken its toll in Nicaragua where the cost of everything has gone up,
even in terms of US Dollars and this last session, the course fees didn't
quite cover all the costs. We ended up paying the cost of making the
solar box cookers from another fund.
Please feel free to pass this course announcement around to anybody
you think might be interested and feel free to post this on any websites
that are appropriate. this is how we pass the word about the course,
since we spend no money on advertizing it. If you have any questions or
need more information, please feel free to contact me.
Richard Komp PhD. President
Maine Solar Energy Association
17 Rockwell Rd SE, Jonesport ME 04649
EXPERIENCE SOLAR CULTURE IN NICARAGUA
An opportunity to offer your hands, heart, and a unique gift:
Solar Energy to a rural community in Nicaragua!
The Grupo Fenix invites interested parties to participate directly in its
development and vision. We offer a 12-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. The next 12-day workshop will run
from the 31st of July thru the 11th of August, 2005. The cost of the
entire trip, excluding air fare and airport expenses, is $1050 per
person, which includes a $300 subsidy towards solar equipment for the
villages and to development funds for the places where Fenix is working.
The course is taught in English and Spanish with simultaneous translation
into English. (Spanish ability greatly enhances your experience of
Nicaragua, and the Summer course will be taught mostly by Nicaraguans and
include more Spanish.) The course design for 2005 includes new hands on
experiences and highlights the socio economic impact Grupo Fenix has had
in the process of implementing renewable energy for sustainable
development. New students welcome and previous students encouraged to
A PROBLEM: More than 60% of Nicaragua's rural population have no
electricity, and the cost of electricity is high for poor Nicaraguans.
Rural poor rely on wood to fuel in-home stoves for cooking, and more than
half of the energy consumed in the country is for firewood for cooking.
The resultant deforestation has caused the drying up local rivers,
serious erosion and loss of top soil, and mud slides that have killed
thousands. Campesinos must walk progressively farther to encounter
firewood or purchase the wood at rising cost. Health concerns related to
cooking with firewood include respiratory diseases, which now leads
contaminated water as a major cause of illness and death. These problems
particularly affect women and children, who are most likely to spend
significant time in smoke-filled kitchens.
A SOLUTION: Grupo Fenix was started in 1996 by a group of enthusiastic
engineering students at the National Engineering University (UNI). They
chose the name "Grupo Fenix" receiving inspiration from the mythical bird
of Egyptian sun worship, the Phoenix, which is forever renewed, and
expresses the hope of these young Nicaraguans that their poor,
strife-torn country would rise from the ashes of war and build an
enlightened society. Since 1996, Grupo Fenix has developed into an
association of member organizations with academic, non profit and
business affiliations which have been promoting, researching and
implementing the use of renewable energy resources in Nicaragua,
especially in rural areas. Grupo Fenix counts among its accomplishments:
* Establishment of two solar cooker workshops, one in the Capital city
Managua and one in the countryside.
* Design of over 16 new types of solar cookers.
* Construction and repair of over 80 solar cookers.
* Construction of several styles of solar water heaters.
* Construction of three solar dryers.
* Construction of prototypes for solar instrument sterilizer and solar
bee's wax melter.
* Establishment of two workshops for local manufacture of photovoltaic
(PV) panels, the first a small business in Managua and the second run by
land mine survivors in a remote village.
* The construction of more than 300 PV panels
* The construction of several hundred ballasts for 12 volt fluorescent
* The development of inexpensive LED reading lights for students in
* Installation of hundreds of PV systems in towns without previous access
* Installation of a microhydro system, several others in design stage.
* Creation of two village solar water pumping systems
* Construction of 5 Biogas systems.
* Providing over a thousand hours of training in the use and
construction of renewable energy technologies to all levels of
participants, from campesinos to scientists.
* Organization and hosting for eight years of Nicaragua's only annual
Renewable Energy Fair.
* Presentation of monthly popular education conferences on renewable
energy themes, almost without interruption since1996
Highlights of Course:
* Visit the Grupo Fenix Renewable Energy educational and production
centers in the city of Managua, learn about the variety of activities
involved in making renewable energy a part of life in Nicaragua.
* Spend a week in remote rural communities where Grupo Fenix has
installed renewable energy systems, gaining intimate knowledge about the
community, and experience the impact of solar energy on their lives.
* Learn about the history and philosophy of using solar energy,
principles of design for solar cookers, water and air heaters, and food
driers, and the latest advances in the field of photovoltaics.
* Hands on experience installing a PV solar electric system in a remote
* Hands on experience building and testing permanent solar box cookers.
* Solar cooked meals.
* Celebrate the sun with locally written songs, poems, dancing and
cultural exchange. (You are invited to share songs, dance, juggling in
the culture nights.
* In depth discussions with villagers and local non-profits on problems,
successes and future possibilities of renewable energy as a part of local
ADDITIONAL OPTIONS: The Solar Culture Course is offered twice yearly,
after August the following session of the course will be from the 2nd
through the 13th of January 2006. Intensive one week Courses in Solar
Spanish in the village of Unile, $150.00 (See www.grupofenix.org ).
Option of individual non-structured stay in the village for holidays, at
$15.00 a day or a total of $105.00 per week. Proceeds go to the
development of the Village Solar Training Centers.
Weekend Tour after the Solar-Cultural Course to a site selected by your
group. Options include twin volcanic island of Ometepe and Microhydro
site, Colonial Granada, , the deep volcanic lake of Laguna de Apoya,
fishing village and estuaries, or other options depending on course
participants.(Additional costs involved).
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 15 years, and is currently director of the
Fenix Program for Alternative Energy.
Nicaraguan Grupo FENIX staff consists of pre-grad and young
engineers and technicians who have made renewable energy their life
mission. The rural staff now includes land mine survivors who were
trained as solar technicians during the 1999- 2001 project directed to
FENIX thru Falls Brook Centre of Canada.
PAYMENT: A $50 deposit or full payment of $1050 by July 15th 2005 will
save you a place in the course, which will be limited to a total of 15
participants. Checks should be made out to SKYHEAT ASSOCIATES and sent
to: Richard Komp, Skyheat Associates, 17 Rockwell Rd. SE, Jonesport ME
04649. If you only pay the deposit by check, the remaining amount is to
be paid the first day of the course in cash (U.S. dollars).
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 the non-profit Seed Tree.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: Richard Komp (primary contact) e-mail:
sunwatt@..., phone: 207-497-2204, or Susan Kinne in Nicaragua,
e-mail: skinne1@... Website: http://www.grupofenix.org