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|Title: ||Batteries used within solar electric systems in rural Uganda|
|Authors: ||Sandgren, Annamaria|
|Keywords: ||Solar energy|
|Issue Date: ||2001 |
|Abstract: ||Solar electricity is one possible way to electrify rural Uganda. To convert, store and use the energy in the sunrays as electricity a solar electric system is utilized. Such a system for domestic use normally consists of a solar panel, load appliances, a charge controller and a lead-acid battery. These batteries are made up of lead and lead dioxide electrodes placed into electrolyte. Lead is a metal that poses extreme environmental hazards.
The objective of this thesis is to study ways to reduce the environmental impact of solar electric systems through prolonged life expectancy of the batteries and proper handling of worn-out ones.
Three types of field studies were carried out in Uganda; interviews with domestic end-users in rural areas combined with servicing their system, interviews with persons from different solar companies, and study visits and interviews with other stakeholders like the local battery producer and governmental authorities.
The field studies revealed many shortcomings in areas such as end-user training, maintenance, after-sale service and handling of worn-out batteries. Examples of low cost measures to prolong the life expectancy is to provide the end-user with a graphic maintenance manual, a bottle of distilled water and a battery box when installing a system. The solar companies have direct contact with the end-users and play an important role. The number of branch offices need to be increased to facilitate this contact, improve the after-sale service and the supply of spare parts.
Another way to improve the companies’ quality of work is to monitor them, provide more training for solar technicians and enforce standards.
Either should local production of batteries made for solar electricity applications be implemented, or the high import taxes removed. A bench test of different batteries is needed to compare prices with lifetimes. People are not aware of environmental hazards and health risks the batteries pose. The local producer of car batteries has the only lead recycling facility in Uganda. They accept only the amount of lead required in their production. Consequently scrap batteries are accumulated all over the country, mostly due to the car fleet but also due to solar electricity.|
|Appears in Collections:||Research Articles (Tech)|
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