9.15.2008

Solar

Before leaving for Panama we looked on the Peace Corps website which claims about half of the volunteer communities in Panama have electricity. Portable solar panels are somewhat costly, but we decided that being able to charge our computer would be worth it. Foy's father suggested that before I order something I check out PowerFilm Solar a company that makes unique flexible solar cells in a building on the edge of Ames, our hometown.

Unfortunately PowerFilm did not have a store at the Ames office, but after explaining that we were planing on using a solar panel during our Peace Corps service they offered to donate one to the cause.

Our solar panels gathering precious energy. The second panel was mailed to us by Foy's parents.
Foy's father built this light that runs off batteries charged by the panels. The batteries are smaller versions of car batteries. Car batteries can accept low levels of energy that picky laptop batteries will not use.

Our laptop was stolen and the XO turned out to be less than water proof so we don´t charge a computer with them. The panels provide us with light in the evenings na ma. (Country pronunciation of nada mas which means, "nothing more".)

The country director for Peace Corps Panama, Peter Redmond asked the newest group, "If you could have only one, would you prefer running water or electricity?" Several chose electricity and I thought, "You have chosen... poorly" (think Indiana Jones and The Holy Grail).

After a strong storm it is common for the aqueduct that provides water to our community to be out of commission for a few days. Usually a tree falls breaking tubes or the tubes becomes clogged with debris. Compared to a day without water, it surprises me how little I miss electricity.

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