How to be a so­lar buddy

The Shed - - News - By Mark Beckitt

While hol­i­day­ing in Queen­stown I spot­ted an ar­ti­cle in the lo­cal pa­per — The Otago Daily Times — about a scheme to pro­vide LED light­ing to coun­tries where light is a real lux­ury (odt.co.nz/re­gions/queen­stown/school­signs-so­lar-buddy-scheme).

I’ve seen var­i­ous so­lu­tions over the years, but this So­lar Buddy pro­gramme solves one of the ma­jor is­sues around recharg­ing and porta­bil­ity, and is af­ford­able. Kate Row­land is the lo­cal pro­moter and kindly arranged for me to get my hands on one, so I could see if it would suit Fu­turein­tech and the school pro­grammes they run. While the light is the ob­ject, the op­por­tu­nity for schools is learn­ing about re­new­able en­ergy, along with some ba­sic elec­tronic assem­bly. Also, as­sist­ing oth­ers and mak­ing new con­tacts are so­cial in­ter­ac­tion that has value long after the gift has been re­ceived.

Since the ar­ti­cle ap­peared, Kate has man­aged to put a very gen­er­ous pro­gramme of buy one, gift one (ebright­en­ergy.co.nz/prod­uct/bright­beam-so­lar-led-light/), and for only $25 you get two units (with one be­ing gifted).

The assem­bly is sim­ple, with no sol­der­ing, and the whole prod­uct looks well made. Per­haps the trick­i­est bit is get­ting the pro­tec­tive sleeve on cor­rectly so it fits into the holes.

While the scheme is aimed at schools there is no rea­son why groups or busi­nesses couldn’t get to­gether and fundraise and make a project from it.

Per­son­ally I’d be happy if both items went to those in need of them, but they would make an ideal Christ­mas gift. Par­ents or grand­par­ents could help as­sem­ble it and then gift it — how good is that?

There are some ex­cel­lent FAQs at this site: https://so­lar­buddy.org/faq/.

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