An Isolated System on Chicken Island

It was March 3rd, 2010 in Guinea Bissau when, for the first time ever, the light of a lamp shone in the evening on Chicken Island. As commonplace as this might seem to many of us, it was a small revolution for the inhabitants of Chicken Island.

Now, the doctor that regularly travelled to the island from the mainland is able to treat patients waiting for her after sunset too. Since March 3rd, her working hours are much longer. Dirk Malinowski, head of the project, says school children can now study in the evening. The church has electricity and the inhabitants of the island use the power to recharge their mobile phones. This too is an important achievement. Mobiles allow the simple exchange of information thus simplifying business activities, for example.

This is all possible due to a solar system donated by Gehrlicher and installed by Dirk Malinowski in cooperation with „Ora International“ development aid organization. This installation is a so-called isolated system that is grid-independent, as opposed to the ones typically used in Germany. This installation is also known as an off-grid system. Special batteries store the power produced during the day and make it available after sunset. The system has a module capacity of 1.6 kilowatts and has to be constructed in a manner so that it can operate for a long time without requiring maintenance.

There are many places like this on the African continent and on African islands. Millions of people still have no access to electricity. But precisely this is often the prerequisite for education, health care and clean water. Many statistics prove that electrification and economic development go hand in hand.

Isolated systems for islands would not only mean being able to continue this project but would also be the most sensible way of bringing electricity to remote communities and thus improve the living conditions of many people. This technology does not require maintenance, is noiseless and is emissions-free. With the help of a „natural fuel“ – the sun – it produces electricity exactly where it is needed, without having to transport it kilometers through rough terrain.

Further information about the Off-Grid Solutions department’s work can be found here.