Solar-powered rat research

By Dr. Lena Fiebig | APOPO Head of TB

World Environment Day 2020

We are pleased to announce that APOPO’s Training and Research Center in Tanzania starts the new decade solar-powered! Thanks to the generous support of the Embassy of Poland four 275-Watt solar panels from the local provider Ensol now crown our office buildings on the campus of the Sokoine University of Agriculture in Morogoro. 

Undoubtedly, the sun is a powerful energy source, and even though we are not able to collect more than a fraction of this energy, harnessing this power by installing solar panels can make a difference to the planet. The technology has been drastically improved over the last years, and has been complemented by solar battery storage systems, turning solar into a significantly more efficient source of clean energy.

Combatting climate change and using sustainable, modern energy are key elements of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs 7 and 13). 

   

APOPO not only advances the Sustainable Development Goals through its Mine Action, Tuberculosis Detection and Innovative research in Tanzania. As a humanitarian organization embracing social transformation and innovation, we are also commited to environmental protection and wildlife protection and our long-standing Carbon offset project in the Uluguru mountains.

APOPO’s innovation is made for resource-limited settings. Key elements, like the locally made evaluation cages, which we use for our TB detection work, are manual and don’t need a power supply. Yet we do rely on electricity for our daily work, for lighting, use of electronic devices, and electronic data management. Automated solutions also play an important role in our research and training to unlock the full potential of the HeroRATs.

Morogoro, with its proximity to the equator, benefits from a high position of the sun (hence the horizontal position of the solar panel) and roughly 12 hours of sunshine a day. We expect great and tangible benefits during power cuts, and ultimately for our environment. Among all the benefits of solar power, the most important thing is that solar energy is a truly renewable energy source. It can be harnessed in all areas of the world and is available every day.

We hope that this switch to using a renewable energy source marks only the beginning. APOPO welcomes further investment to continue the solar power path across all our programs and sites.

 


APOPO greatly acknowledges the Embassy of Poland in Tanzania for their support.