Advances made in building local solar fences

Science: If all goes according to plan, students from the College of Science and Technology (CST) in Phuentsholing could start making “low-cost solar fencing” for Tarayana Foundation target sites in the country.

This comes following the fourth Green Technology Challenge. The challenge is a collaboration between Tarayana Foundation and CST. Four college teams comprising about 23 students participated in making affordable solar fencing at the campus.

Announcing the results of the competition yesterday, Tarayana Foundation’s senior programme officer Roseleen Gurung said that if the products are found technically sound and appropriate, the technology would be adopted.

“I hope that this technology will help reduce human-wildlife conflict, while increasing agricultural productivity,” the senior programme officer said, pointing out that the technology would also allow farmers to devote more time to economic and household activities, which otherwise would be spent guarding the fields.

An engineering student at CST, who participated in the challenge, Phuntsho Dorji said his team made fencing that had flexible solar panels.

“We calculated the angle of the panel as per the four seasons,” he said. “The panel would adjust four times to tap the best of the solar energy.”

Phuntsho Dorji said the regular panels used in rural areas are fixed in one position, which decreases the amount of solar energy that can be tapped.

A CST lecturer, who was part of the project, Sonam Norbu, said that such collaboration with Tarayana and other stakeholders in the country empowered the college towards excellence in research and innovation in technology.

“Our main objective is to encourage students to fine tune their classroom experiences for practical use,” the lecturer said.

The fences were made using available facilities on campus. Tarayana Foundation funded the project.

Although students were able to construct fences at an expense of Nu 8,000 and Nu 10,000, the major challenge remained with the energiser, which is used in thrusting energy pulses through the fence. The concern was that the energiser had to be imported.

It was also understood that the energiser currently used in the villages did not have specifications easily understood by implementers. Participating teams had used a Chinese made energiser.

However, a team at CST is currently attempting to create a local energiser.

Meanwhile, initiatives from the prior challenges have been adopted in target sites. Solar dryers constructed in 2013 have been adopted in Dagana, Mongar, and Paro to ensure food security and nutrition enhancement, including income generation.

Another initiative of water filtration that was conducted in 2014 has also been adopted in Samtse and Tsirang. The filtration units provide clean and safe drinking water in rural communities.

Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing

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