This year we held four international courses in conjunction with Cornell, CELL, University of Wisconsin - Platteville and the University of Dayton which brought 38 participants to the Solar Community. With these courses we were able to build five solar cookers, one solar dryer, 37 solar cell phone charges, repair two 60 watt PV systems, amplify a system by 60 watts and install three new PV systems.
Cornell visited us for the 9th time this year. Due to a clash between their spring break and Easter they visited us in January and meant that their group was a little smaller than usual with just two participants. The week long technical exchanged, based around the solar ovens, was still highly successful with the participants working with the solar cooker construction team to build a solar oven that is easily transported so that the Solar Women’s cooperative can easily take it to the many fairs they are asked to participate in.
In February we were visited by a group of 6 students and 1 faculty member from CELL Central American Semester Abroad Programme. The focus of this programme is experiential learning. During their stay in the solar community they repaired the 60 watt PV systems at Veronica’s and Adelina’s house, worked at the Solar Mountain, learnt how to build their own solar cell phone chargers and how to make charcoal from agricultural waste.
For the second year running we welcomed Professor Lynn Schlager from the University of Wisconsin – Platteville and his bunch of lively students to Nicaragua. We were lucky enough to visit the Momotombo Geothermal Power plant where we were warmly welcomed and given an in-depth tour of the facilities. Before heading up to the Solar Community we visited Masaya Volcano and its market. Upon arrival to the community they got down to work which included: construction of solar cookers, installations of PV systems, working in the Solar Mountain, building solar cell phone chargers and visiting Somoto Canyon.
Dayton ETHOS outbreak visited us in May and we were finally able to realize our dream of having their interns, who join us for ten weeks over the summer, participate in the outbreak course as means of their orientation. This group pushed the boundaries helping the solar cooker construction team build a much desired solar dryer and also did one of their installations in the more rural community of Cuje. We all thoroughly enjoyed these new experiences.