Canadian-led Solar Project to Support Women’s Group in Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso

Jan 28, 2019

At a ribbon cutting ceremony on January 19, a solar-powered community hub officially became operational in the central Burkina Faso town of Pâ, providing numerous resources and tools that will power learning, communication and industry.

The project is a joint initiative of the Calgary-based NGO The Strongest Oak and the Schneider Electric Foundation. Schneider Electric donated mechanical components and the energy management platform, and provided technology training. Schneider Electric engineers will also monitor the system remotely from Canada.

The community power hub is a modular, solar-powered nanogrid that consists of a solar array installed above a 20-foot shipping container. The container is designed be used for battery storage, office space, and a retail kiosk. There is a shaded communal courtyard in the front for socializing and commerce, and an industrial zone (for agricultural milling) in the back.

The hub will bring a solar powered milling system to a women’s cooperative so that it can safely and efficiently process valuable shea butter without using diesel-powered systems.

A subsequent phase the project will add a second shipping container and solar array (next to the existing container) to serve as a cold-storage/refrigeration unit. This will provide further entrepreneurial opportunities to Pâ community members, including storage of perishable foods such as fruits, meat, and grains, as well as making and selling ice and cold drinks.

The Strongest Oak Foundation is an international non-profit organization that equips remote African villages with solar power to increase their economic prosperity and educational opportunities. Founded in 2010 and headquartered in Calgary, the foundation has helped youth achieve life-changing personal, educational or professional goals, with the ultimate goal of them becoming financially self-sustaining. As part of its  solar power initiative, we support internships in renewable energy to disadvantaged African youth.

Find out more about The Strongest Oak Foundation

“At Schneider Electric, we are building sustainable communities through energy knowledge and leadership thanks to the Schneider Electric Foundation,” says Gilles Vermot Desroches, Sustainability Senior VP of Schneider Electric and General Delegate of Schneider Electric Foundation. It contributes to the development of people and societies through education, innovation, awareness-raising and vocational training related to energy.

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