The French Physical Society and the French Optical Society have just launched a project on solar photovoltaics in Africa.
The importance of energy for the modern world, makes it apparent that it is lacking for many countries with limited resources, especially in Africa. This is why the French Physical Society and the French Optical Society are launching a project on solar photovoltaics in Africa.
We are mainly interested in human-scale developments based on the manufacture and use of solar panels. This will bring improvements in the lives of isolated areas, or areas deprived of convenient sources of energy. The choice of Africa comes from a reflection on the effects of the various crises, COVID, war in Ukraine, and the decrease in the amount of money allocated to international development by many countries, which will lead to difficulties in funding for education and university.
The link with sustainable development is obvious, since this energy replaces fossil fuels, used even for lighting. It brings a flexibility of use which allows, for example, to carry out scientific experiments in the field by freeing itself from the power cuts.
Research on solar cells
In addition to the practical aspect, we are interested in the research aspect on solar cells, which can lead to a certain independence and to university teaching (in particular the practical work). It seems important to us to work on new materials like perovskite. The different possibilities remain to be determined with the structures involved in this research such as the Institut Photovoltaïque d’Ile de France (IPVF). This could be an opportunity for students from countries that do not have such facilities to spend time in research laboratories.
Finally, it is necessary to get involved in education and popularization so that many young girls and men get hold of these concepts and start to realize developments based on solar photovoltaic.
The project has four components:
– training of trainers, for the manufacture of small solar panels from solar cells, and the realization of connections to chargers for use of LEDs and cell phones.
– practical work: realization of remote practical work for the teaching on the characterization of solar cells. We are going to cooperate with a partner association Puya Internationale which has already organized remote practical works in Vietnam and Madagascar.
– research: African countries must continue or engage in research on solar cells.
– education and popularization.
Training in different countries
The training will be presented to different countries. The university where the workshops will be held will be chosen by them and each country will also be able to make changes to the program.
This program is comprehensive, in addition to teacher training, it covers university teaching for research, practical work applied research and education (secondary). We have already implemented part of this program, with the cooperation of other associations, for Senegal, Guinea, Burkina Faso and Madagascar. We are currently looking for sufficient funding (up to 100,000 €) to organize the workshops and practical work, and to equip the fablabs necessary for the popularization part.