Construction of a Small Scale Laboratory for Solar Collectors and Solar Cells in a Developing Country


In the field of renewable energy, self-provided research in developing countries is barely present, but most welcomed. The creation of know-how and self-development of technologies should reduce the dependence on industrialized countries for both materials and knowledge. This work presents technological and social issues related to the construction of a low budget solar laboratory in Mozambique. The goal is to demonstrate that scientific level research can be carried out in developing countries by using affordable solutions without sacrificing quality of the results. For this investigation, a solar laboratory was built in 2011 at Universidade Eduardo Mondlane of Maputo. The laboratory enables measurements to evaluate solar thermal and photovoltaic-thermal hybrid collectors. Thanks to the flexibility of the system, students and teaching staff can add/remove equipment and develop customised local research programs. In addition, a course on the principles of solar energy and collector simulation for local students was taught. The needed data acquisition devices usually used in Europe were compared with cheaper and easy-maintenance ones. Calibration and estimation of the uncertainty were successfully performed. Approximately 9% of inaccuracy in the measurement was introduced by the cheaper equipment, but the investment cost was reduced by more than 90%. Other issues, results and future recommendations are shown.

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Niko, G. , Henrik, D. , Ricardo, B. , Joao, G. , Christian, G. , Luis, C. , Chabu, M. and Björn, K. (2013) Construction of a Small Scale Laboratory for Solar Collectors and Solar Cells in a Developing Country. Engineering, 5, 75-80. doi: 10.4236/eng.2013.51B014.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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