1 Solar stories: Avoiding the same mistakes TechNet, 4 February 2013 Dmitri Davydov, UNICEF Programme Division
2 Solar technology in user systems Otto Mohr developed the first solar refrigerator in Experience has since shown that management issues with the introduction of this technology often overshadow technical challenges.
3 The history of learning from failures NASA tests from 1981 to 1985 involved 29 PV powered fridges in 24 countries. Early reports estimated that fridges would last for 20 years - and determined cost-effectiveness accordingly (without the annual cost of fuel, PV systems were expected to save money in the long term) Subsequent reports showed that most PV fridges failed within a few years sometimes within months of operation. These failures put the reliability and cost-effectiveness of PV installation under scrutiny. Meanwhile, some PV fridges lasted for more than 10 years. As of 2008, one of the original NASA PV fridge installations in Mali, known affectionately as le vieil homme (The Old Man) continued to function, i.e. the fridge was operational for over 26 years.
4 Technical Institutional 1986: Lessons learned Select Field-Proven Components Use PV components and systems that are capable of operating in similar environments. Obtain and Properly Use Design Data Use site-specific weather data where possible. Provide User-Oriented Product Engineering Use minimal instru mentation and simple controls. Establish Field Service Capability Repair capability should be equal to or better than that available for conventional systems. Provide Training At All Levels Planners, operators, users, and repair personnel must understand the PV system. Coordinate Activities With End Users Local involvement will ensure that local needs are met.
5 1986: Lessons learned (continued) Financial Evaluate Viability Using Life- Cycle Costing PV systems that are costeffective on a whole life-cycle basis usually have high initial costs. Utilize Financing Mechanisms for Developing Countries Available financing programs can minimize the high initial cost of PV systems.
6 UNICEF Procurement of Solar BPS 400 SDD
7 Sources Understanding root-causes: Performance feedback UNICEF-own, partners, consultants, discussion groups (TechNet, CCLT) UNICEF Process All complaints are dealt with using Quality Management Systems methods. Systematic monitoring of (any) equipment performance is a challenge we are working to address. Examples Haiti (complex issue!), Pacific Island Countries (thermostats), India (broken solar panels during inland transport due to poor packaging) Sierra Leone (poor quality hinges due to a change of material by subcontractor; investigation showed 20 countries affected; replacement hinges sent. Challenge remains to ensure follow up that all old hinges are replaced by countries) Kenya (icepacks, being part of ice banks of SDD, had been taken out to be used as normal ice packs for outreach services)
8 Country experiences differ Solar refrigerators are considered to be durable and reliable, known to serve for at least 5 years with no major problems. E.g., Peru is a large-scale adopter of conventional solar systems based on own positive experience E.g., in The Gambia, batteries, thermostats & charge regulators were found to be a concern
9 Systems issues: Haiti 170 solar fridges procured in These were stored for two years in Port-au-Prince. Of the 85 installed, 20% showed freezing temperatures. The troubleshooting mission by the manufacturer found the thermostats had been damaged due to unsuitable storage (high temperatures). Thermostats were replaced. Subsequent joint missions showed complex installation, maintenance & equipment capacity challenges. While the monetary cost of the malfunction is significant, there is perceived damage to public confidence.
10 Addressing the Workforce Gap Adequate equipment installation, maintenance & repair capacity has been an on-going challenge. With limited funds What model can sufficiently and efficiently support EPI? Successful community engagement model in Sierra Leone Sharing costs with other commodities
11 Building sustainable systems Exploring models that promote: Recognition of underlying motivations of users & owners Local entrepreneurship in vaccine delivery Incentives for existing businesses to expand into vaccines Revenue generation opportunities (solar electricity, micro-grids) Integration with other commodities Partnerships with health agencies and NGOs
12 Key success factors (1) Commitment to Sustainable Success Failures happen when funding for maintenance is neglected One or two committed individuals in an area can greatly increase the life-cycle of a refrigeration system but systems built on local ownership are more sustainable Collaboration with the industry to ensure quality products & delivery Feedback to industry & procurement agencies on equipment performance is essential to inform product improvement & R&D.
13 Key success factors (2) Performance Monitoring Data Monitoring Systems and quantifiable data generation Reports dating back to the 80 s cite the need for comprehensible quantifiable data for effective decision-making Failures can be predicted and prevented in areas where malfunctions occur frequently Site visits and evaluations of user perceptions and operation of equipment Site visits can reveal critical information that is not obvious from reports for example, some locations either have access to ground-line electricity or there are plans to extend an electric grid into that region. Costs can be saved by investing in electric grid fridges for these areas.
14 To conclude Country experiences show advantages of careful planning & support to set-up solar fridges - including a strong programme for training and retraining technicians, close monitoring immediately after installation, and long-term monitoring to ensure effective performance management. While an event might be simple, people s reactions to it are complex. Understanding systems relationship is vital. Failure to sustainably integrate the technology in user context undermines public confidence - gives good technology a bad name. Guidance to countries on planning and implementing solar vaccine refrigeration systems is on the way will distill lessons learned from past experience and best practices.
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