By Lloyd Alter, Source: TreeHugger
Samsung is supplying solar powered internet schools, and the kids are excited, calling it “purely greatness, happily madness.” Samsung describes it as” exclusively solar-powered, mobile and completely independent classroom that is geared towards increasing accessibility to education and connectivity across Africa”. Designboom shows this one is in Phomolong, near Johannesburg. It was the “African solar project of the year” and supports 21 students. According to ITWeb,
Samsung had to ensure the container could be used even when things didn’t go to plan. The solar panels on the roof and sides are made of a rubber-like material, rather than conventional panels, so it can be transported without them breaking. He adds that the unusual technology would also make it easy to track the panels if they were stolen.
The batteries inside the unit have been modified so they use a lead-acid gel instead of separate acid and water, so there’s no risk of leakage during transit.
It also had to be secure.
The presence of a tech-packed container with access to power in the middle of a rural area is not going to go unnoticed. This formed part of the ‘sustainability’ considerations. “All the power supplies are locked into the bottom of the unit, so there’s no temptation to plug things like TVs or heaters in,” Boulanger notes. If an opportunist were to try plug in an appliance that’s not on the network, the system sends a signal to whoever is monitoring the unit that there’s an unusual power discharge.
The container has four inches of insulation and extraction fans to keep it cooler (and 21 kids inside warming it up). The solar panels will probably act a bit like sunshades and help keep it cooler.