We sometimes claim (without data) that Taquile is the most intense use of solar energy in the indigenous world, with their three community water pumping projects, some hot water systems, and almost every household with their small PV systems, adequate for lights and music.
|240watts for the freezer at the tienda of Eufrasia and Delfin|
We have an incredible opportunity in association with our Colorado professionals who visited last year (see their amazing story: http://taquilefriends.blogspot.com/2017/03/solar-installations-2017.html ) Brad and Danielle's son, Asa, is also a professional solar installer and speaks Spanish fluently to boot! We have launched a crowd-funding site to bring this talented young man to teach, first an advanced course for a few, and then more general maintenance classes for the general community. That site is https://www.youcaring.com/taquileisland-1030571 [UPDATE: We made our goal in 10 Days!!! Stay tuned for stories about the workshops when they happen in February.]
|German already has a lot of experience|
-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Peru solar classes
Friends and Family,
Danielle and I are working on a modest project to do solar electric classes on Taquile Island on Lake Titicaca in Peru, and we would appreciate your support. Last February, we visited Taquile Island for a few days at the invitation of our friends Tara Miller and Sam Brown of Paonia, who have been visiting the island for over 30 years. We were blown away. The people are some of the friendliest we have ever met. There are no roads and no dogs on the island. The same families have owned and worked the land since before the Incas. Everyone walks, and there aren't even many wheelbarrows, partly because the trails are so steep. Most amazingly, there are no powerlines! Many homes have small solar electric systems; some have none.
It's amazing how grateful folks are when they get set up with a small solar electric system. While we were there last year for just 5 days, we helped Sam and Tara set up two different solar systems. (Sam and Tara have been helping folks there get solar for decades, and they help the community in a myriad of other ways, too.) One of the families we installed solar for includes a single mother, her parents and her daughter. Sam focused on this family because it is very poor, and the school-age daughter needed light to study with at night. (We also put LED lights in some other rooms, including the "Inca" kitchen which was tiny and dark as a cave.) The other family we helped install solar for needs electricity because they are setting up a small hospedaje, or bed and breakfast, for income so the father can be home more since he now has to leave for weeks at a time to go away and work in others' fields. (If a hospedaje qualifies, it gets government promotion, but it has to have a tiled kitchen, flush toilet and shower, and electricity for lights and cell phone charging for the visitors. They had boot-strapped for years and had everything installed but the electricity!)
The work of Tara and Sam and some others have been incredibly beneficial, but we saw a big need for more focused education for the islanders on solar electric systems. Almost all the systems are tiny or very small (20 watts to maybe 500 watts), and while the residents are of course intelligent and resourceful, they don't know much about the general theory or design principles of the systems they have or are getting. (For instance, while I was there, I gave maybe a dozen lecture-ettes on having appropriate overcurrent protection for any circuits connected to a battery. If you know what this is, you know how important it is; if you don't know, you are in the same boat as many of the islanders are!) Also, the systems are gradually getting larger as prices come down. And as system size increases, their complexity increases, and their danger, both regarding fire potential and shock hazard, increases even faster.
Our plan is to go back to Taquile Island this February and provide some classes so the islanders have a better handle on this technology. One class will be small, for 3 to 5 locals who already have some knowledge of solar principles, installation, and troubleshooting. (We worked with two such folks last year, and they have voracious desires to learn more.) The second class would be bigger and would include folks who already have solar systems for are planning to get them. Our plan is to have the participants of the first class help teach this second, more general class since they know the folks, and they will practice what they learned in their higher-level class, and finally, they would gain credibility as the knowledgeable go-to solar folks when we leave.
Sam and Tara are going back in February and will help us put the classes together and help with them on the island. Danielle and I will do the same, on our own dime, like we did last year. But for the classes, we hope to be able to bring our son, Asa, down to help teach the classes. (He's very fluent in Spanish; he's taught numerous classes as a tutor and as a chemistry grad student at Cornell; and, he's super sharp with solar, having worked with us over the years, having worked as a lead installer for Namaste Solar in Denver and Boulder for a year and a half, and last year, getting his NABCEP certification in solar installation.) We hope to raise $2500 so we can fly Asa down with us, and also take a couple of suitcases of solar charge controllers, LED lights, cell charger outlets, 230-volt inverters, and a couple more Spanish language SEI textbooks (to add to a couple we mailed down this year already!).
Will you help us?? We set up a fundraising site:
It's easy to donate there, but it costs us a bit to use them.
If you want, you can just send us a check in my or Danielle's name, and we will put it in our Taquile solar fund. Here's our address:
Brad Burritt and Danielle Carre'
12125 Burritt Rd
Hotchkiss, CO 81419
I attached a great brochure Danielle put together for this project - check it out!
Thanks for taking a look, and for considering helping us out with this project! Email or call with questions.
Empowered Energy Systems, LLC
12125 Burritt Rd
Hotchkiss, CO 81419
NABCEP Certified PV Installer #091308-5
NABCEP Certified PV Tech. Sales #PVTS01911-3
Checks can also be sent to
41342 O Road
Paonia, CO 81428