NAMIBIANS aim to move away from the national electricity grid by using solar panels, as a result five families in Oniipa in northern Namibia have become recent beneficiaries of the Fusion Grid plot project.
Fusion Grid is a research and development project that brings electricity, connectivity, and digital services to entrepreneurs and households in remote communities.
The platform delivers a channel for digital e/m-government services for citizens and administration. Current realised outcome of the project is based on residential off-grid electricity production serving multiple households at the same time as it delivers digital services.
Pietari Kesuinen a doctoral candidate at Aalto University, said that they have installed 12 solar panels that will benefit five households in the town thus far.
“The project is a continuation to earlier collaboration between Finnish and Namibian universities building on top of previous and ongoing student and teacher exchange programs,” said Kesuinen.
Karin Fröhlich Post-Doctoral Researcher at Aalto University said the concept facilitates learning and business opportunities for unemployed youth in under-served communities.
According to Fröhlich, business Finland together with Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs has provided funding for the project. The initial start for the project, piloting the new electricity and digital service platform, originates partly from an intensive course that was organized at Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) as part of the UFISA project (User-Centred Design for Innovative Services and Applications) in 2014.
She stated that Fusion Grid research project is part of BEAM (Business with Impact) program funded by Finnish government through Business Finland and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Finland.
“The participating research partners are LUT University and Aalto University together with industrial collaborators GEF (Green Energy Finland), Finnish University Properties (SYK), Nokia, and Solar Finland,” noted Fröhlich.
Fröhlich explained that the Fusion Grid project is working closely with Namibian research partners from NUST including a Namibian visiting researcher in the research group in Finland.
“LUT University studies and develops the solar-powered off-grid electricity systems, including those market and business models, wheras Aalto University’s part is in the introduction, delivery and impact of digital services in under-served communities,” cited Fröhlich.
GEF provides the technical realisation of the photo-voltaic (PV) electricity production, control, and monitoring with solar panels from Solar Finland.
Fröhlich noted that Nokia’s experimental community-run mobile base station (Kuha) offers regional mobile connectivity in remote areas. Finnish University Properties (SYK) has a focus on campus infrastructure and innovative learning spaces and solutions.