#SundayRECAP: Schneider Electric Foundation brings light

The solar panels that were installed.

The University of Johannesburg (UJ) is giving back to the community after receiving a €7,000 donation from Schneider Electric Foundation earlier this year.

The aim of giving them the donation was for a rural project delivered by the university. The project called ‘Project Connect’ was to assist a rural area just 300km’s away from Polokwane in Limpopo called Gwakwani Village.

This project has been on since 2015 when solar lighting solutions were installed in 30 homes. The project was part of UJ’s educational initiative with an opportunity for student training and on the job experience.

Students had the opportunity to be exposed to real-life engineering projects and opportunities, to solve critical issues where they are needed most.

Part of the project involved them identifying high quality and multifunctional water system as a core need for the village, as water supplied from a borehole for drip irrigation in the village was insufficient for daily use.

Head of Sustainable Development for Schneider Electric Anglophone Africa, Zanelle Dalglish said, “The original donation enabled access to energy, so the community no longer has to rely on candles, as their primary source of lighting and one of the Mobiya entrepreneurs has built a complete house with the funds that he has raised though Mobiya sales.”

Another borehole was pump was installed Schneider Electric South Africa donated its ‘Water of the Sun’ solution, which consists of its variable speed drives to power the water pump, with a 4Kw solar panel solution that UJ provided.

“Now this community not only has access to reliable water supply for everyday use but can also plant and grow vegetables to support itself and sell to surrounding villages as drip irrigation has been installed for the excess water,” said Dalglish.

The community also received: UJ will continue to monitor the performance of the solar system and implement continuous improvements to the system.

The villagers have expressed their gratitude for these life-changing ventures as they used to refer to themselves as “the forgotten people” and they now have access to energy with a full range of solar solutions.

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Sphindile Mbatha

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