01. FIND A LOCATION
We focus on countries that fall below the energy poverty line. Often times, a dollar in these communities goes much further than if spent elsewhere. The energy poverty line is determined using the Energy Development Index and is measured yearly by the International Energy Agency. We also consider other factors when looking for communities that need our help, such as willingness of a community, politcal issues, and available local resources.
02. EVALUATE THE COMMUNITY
Once we find a country or region that needs our help, we work with the local government and community leaders to understand the local culture and the needs of the people. We organize a town hall meeting to let community members speak their minds. These open forums provide us a great opportunity to gain insight into all the factors that are limiting the community’s growth. For example, we might learn from a town hall meeting that lights are needed at a high school because students lacked sufficient study time to succeed at better employment opportunities upon graduation. Identifying the needs of the local culture allows us to design a custom renewable energy system and attack the source of the problem.
03. EVALUATE THE ENVIRONMENT
Understanding the environment is just as important as identifying the needs of the people we help. Micro-climates are examined along with seasonality. In some cases we will enlist the help of local meteoroligists and environmental specialists to help us understand key factors.
04. CHOOSE A TECHNOLOGY
In Sub-Saharan Africa it might make the most sense to go heavy on the solar panels to provide year round electricity, but in a mountain community in Honduras where high winds and low sun exposure is common throughout the year, wind turbines supplemented by solar panels would be most effective. Understanding the climate at a site allows us to make the most out of every dollar donated and design the most effective system.
05. MEASURE / MONITOR / MAINTAIN
Here comes the fun part, the DATA! The numbers speak for themselves. Every system we design inclues a micro-computer monitor. We collect usage statistics, information on peak and off-peak loads, demands, and application statistics. Sensors also collect data on the environment like humidity and temperature, allowing us to maintain the highest efficiency possible. We also monitor important developmental indicators after a project is completed like student body growth and patient turnover time. These key values are proof that electricity improves lives.