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BTLP installs a new solar system to help us research some ideas that can help with energy poverty.

This blog will be about our newest solar power experimental site that we have finished in Texas. We at BTLP are super excited about this because we can use this site for additional testing and experimentation on new developments that could help us find some good practical solutions to help those how are living in energy poverty.

We will be getting back to the stories about more Nicaraguan families next week, but just wanted to let you guys know that we at BTLP are not just sitting around doing nothing. We also wanted to remind you to make sure to read the news concerning the happenings in Nicaragua and make sure to do what you can to support our brothers and sisters there.

The Story

Our biggest donors couldn’t run a power line to their outdoor building without great expense. So… they allowed us to install a BTLP solar system, which includes the solar panel, power box, lights and expansion ports for future development. Since these donors are junior scientists, they have agreed to take reliability and performance data from their system, as well as be guinea pigs for our future mini-fridge development.

Here is a picture of the solar panel mounted on the roof with new revolutionary upgrades including 4 mounting brackets and a PVC feedthrough.

Here is a picture of the inside with the power box and an installed light. These lights are controlled by a wall switch and the expansion ports are on the power box. These donors are super grateful for their 100Whr of stored energy and 25W of solar energy, so they can rock out night and day.

Next Steps

The system that we installed at this site is the same as the next generation system that we will be installing in Nicaragua on 14 homes this summer. The junior scientists at this site will be taking data on performance and reliability of the installation, but also will be our beta site for our 12V solid state-ultra efficient mini-fridge. This is under development, but we at BTLP are trying to develop a small fridge that we can hook up to the power box that will store a small amount of food for a family. This was an idea of our good friend Weston Smith, who told me that the Nicaraguan woman spends quite a bit of time cooking.

The Issue

We did some data taking on this and found that on a sample of over 30 homes in the area of La Mora and El Carmen, the Nicaraguan women we surveyed spent around 4 hours a day cooking meals for her family. Just about all of the homes that we visited had wood burning stoves, so they will spend quite a bit of time cooking and preparing food for the family. Most of the food storage was in small aluminum containers and there was no refrigeration in any of the homes that we visited.

We at BTLP would like to see if we can make prototype a fridge that can be inexpensive, easy to build, easy to repair and super efficient that can possibly help out here by allowing them to store a small amount of food. We’re thinking solid state devices for reliability and efficiency and about the size of a small cooler. Now, with the help of our BTLP junior scientists, we will try to bring this to reality. I know… sounds tough, but that’s us!

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