Liberia: Mercy Corps Trains over 100 in Solar Panel Installation, Maintenance

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Monrovia – The program manager for Light Up Liberia (LUP), a three-year program sponsored by the European Union and implemented by Mercy Corps, said 119 Liberian students have been trained on how to install and maintain solar lights.

According to Emmanuel Aziebor, the project targets seven counties and 25,000 people to will have access to electricity and clean cooking solution.

He stated that if there is an extension of a solar home system and clean cooking solution, there will be a need for engineers to install and maintain them, and it will be the students that they had trained.

“Our strategy is to train available technicians, who will be able to install the system, work with private sector companies to install the systems and as well as maintain them.

“You need people who are residents of the targeted communities; we are working with technical and vocation schools in the country,” he said.

Aziebor spoke at a one-day program on solar Photovoltaic curriculum stakeholder evaluation workshop.

The curriculum includes designs, installation, and maintenance of solar system and targets students taking a course in electricity.

Grand Bassa, Gbarpolu, Lofa are among the seven counties.

He named Monrovia Vocational Training Center, Tubman High Accelerated Vocational Training Program, Stella Maris, Booker Washington Institute as schools currently hosting the programs.

He stated that before students leave the pilot, the project ensures how they integrate after their studies.

Mercy Corps provides the logistics and materials in schools as the project works with the Ministry of Education to design the curriculum.

“Liberia is one of the lowest in the sub-region having access to energy. This is critical now because we are matching resources to capacity and it is important for local capacity.”

He said two and half years have gone in the three-year program expressing hopes that the Liberian Government scales up the initiative in achieving the 2.4-million-euro project.

The local partners to Mercy Crops in this project are Rural Renewable Agency (RREA) and the Ministry of Education.

The program Director at RREA encouraged students to work harder in the project.

He disclosed that RREA is working to install 2.5 megawatts from the hydropower plant and system and 1.8mw of diesel HFO that will cover from Voinjama to Foya covering Kolahun and all major towns within the corridor.

“We are working with the Africa Development Bank to develop a 9.34mw on the Gbein Fall, a tourist center, about 15 Km from Sanniquellie.”

He said funding has been allocated and they are awaiting board approval and is currently working with finance for the South East region.

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