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First solar training room opened in vocational school

The Daniel Comboni Vocational Institute in Northern Uganda has opened a solar training room with the support of Green People’s Energy. Here, future electricians can practice installing and maintaining solar systems at 20 training stands. GBE has also developed a training manual.

Decentralised solar systems are a fast, cost-effective and clean alternative to expensive and slow grid expansion, especially in rural regions of Uganda. It is clear that people in the north need quick access to modern energy in order to develop economically. Small-scale solar systems and solar-powered water pumps can create the basis for new jobs and higher incomes.

A prerequisite for the dissemination of solar technologies in rural areas is well-trained and urgently needed solar technicians. For this reason, GBE supports the expansion of training capacities in the occupational fields of electricity and solar technology at two vocational schools in Northern Uganda, for example by training teachers and setting up solar training rooms. The Daniel Comboni Vocational Institute was able to open the first of these training rooms in May this year.

“In the training room, trainees have twenty solar training stands at their disposal. They allow the trainees to learn skills in installing, maintaining and repairing different solar equipment in a variety of exercises and experiments in a very practical way, thus putting the theoretical lessons into practice,” says Iria Alvarez Vazquez, advisor of the GBE country project in Uganda.

Each stand consists of two solar modules, a solar battery, a charge controller, an inverter and other electrical accessories. Armed with the electrician toolboxes, measuring devices and protective clothing provided by GBE, the trainees then carry out the practical exercises listed in the training manual.

The solar PV training stand is a replication of a model first successfully introduced by the Cologne Chamber of Skilled Crafts and Small Businesses (HWK) at the Nakawa Vocational Training Institute in Uganda. The training stands can be assembled from locally available solar components with the help of an assembly manual developed by GBE.

“It is important to keep the cost of such training offers low in rural areas so that other vocational schools in Uganda can replicate it,” says Iria Alvarez Vazquez. “We will use this approach to train two to four dozen vocational teachers from several other vocational schools in Northern Uganda.”

GBE Uganda hopes that the solar training stands will complement the existing theoretical curricula in vocational schools and will have a positive impact on the practical skills of solar technicians and electricians. With the opening of the solar training room, an important milestone has been reached. Iria Alvarez Vazquez is delighted with the result: “We are proud to say that we have set up the most beautiful solar training room in northern Uganda. But even more important, of course, is that this will noticeably improve the training opportunities in relevant occupational fields for young people in northern Uganda.