Enhancement of learning environment via access to electricity in rural community

2 de agosto de 2006

The rural municipality of Cananéia is one of the poorest communities in the State of São Paulo. One of the major challenges is to improve the education quality and provide adequate education facilities. At present the illiteracy level is high; analphabetism among the adult population and semi-analphabetism among the children.

The project seeks to improve the teaching quality through locally need-oriented capacity building and training of teachers and provide more electricity for two rural schools from a low-cost, small-scale wind turbine in order to provide sustainable energy services (lighting, refrigeration, television).
The project activities

Project goals

The project is a multi-purpose and multidisciplinary one-year pilot which has two different but intertlinked components: education and energy.

The overall aim of the project is to improve the quality of education by capacity building in two rural schools. Increased access to electricity, enabled through the installation of a low-cost, small-scale wind turbine, will improve the lighting conditions as well as provide access to audiovisual teaching materials and a refrigerator.

The project has been initiated in two selected schools (municipality of Cananéia), located in the Cardoso Island State Park, where there is not access to grid electricity, but small stand-alone PV systems. The schools from the communities of Cambriu and Pontal do Leste will be provided with more electricity through the installation of small-scale wind turbines, as well as electrical equipments designated for an enrichment of the poor learning environment. If this pilot project proves successful, similar systems could beneficiate other schools or communities with comparable learning conditions.

Project partners

The project is funded by the HSBC Bank. It is being carried out by IEI's Latin American Regional office (REI-LA) in partnership with the technology enterprise Eletrovento, The Grupo AULA – an interdisciplinary research group from the Faculty of Education at the State University of Campinas (Unicamp), as well as the Laboratory of Photovoltaic Systems from the Energy and Electro-technical Department of the University of São Paulo (LSF/IEE-USP).

The project is supported by the São Paulo State Education Department through its Regional Secretariat (Diretoria Regional de Ensino da Região de Registro – DRE-RR). The project will act in accordance with the directives valid for the “Cardoso Island State Park”, which is one of the conservation units under the jurisdiction of The São Paulo State Environment Secretariat.

The project was initiated in April 2006 and is scheduled to be fulfilled within a year.

Project details

Solar cells were installed in the schools, but are not sufficient to satisfy the needs of the equipment that the current project plans to introduce: television, parabolic antenna, DVD/video-player, refrigerator and compact fluorescent lamps. The installment of small-scale wind turbines will increase the provision of energy. It is anticipated that the wind turbines will complement the solar energy, increasing the reliability of the system as well as reducing the number of battery changes and the cost of energy.

Initially, an assessment of the wind potential will be accomplished. Previous measures collected two years ago by the LSF/IEE-USP indicate a promising scenario. Anemometers will be installed in the vicinity of the selected schools. Secondly, the apt dimensions of the system will be established in accordance with the standard (legislation Resolução Normativa ANEEL No.83/2004) as well as with the specific needs for each school.

The company Eletrovento has developed a low-cost, small-scale wind turbine, and will install one of 2 KW (Model Turbo 2000) in each school. This is a prerequisite for the planned supply and operation of the equipment. Each wind turbine produces 200 kWh per month, provided a wind speed of around 20 km/h during 5 hours per day for about 20 days per month.

Project outcome

The technical equipments improve the educational standards by giving both teachers and pupils access to audiovisual teaching and learning. The refrigerators facilitate the conservation of food, and will provide the children with a more diverse diet. At present, they are obliged to rely on canned or powdered food. In addition, the lack of appropriate storing easily rots the vegetables. Improved lightning enable the use of the schools in the evening for adult training or for communitarian purposes.

Local participation is emphasized. The community needs to become familiar with a rational use and maintenance of the new technology, and will receive training in order to acquire problem-solving capacities. The latter is also related to the community’s own acceptance of the introduction of new technology and equipment. Previous projects have led to a certain lack of trust and skepticism towards renewable energy alternatives. The current project aims to revert this trend through the installation of a more reliable system.

The Grupo AULA – an interdisciplinary research group from the Faculty of Education at the State University of Campinas (Unicamp), is in charge of improving teachers´ skills related to the inauguration of new teaching methods and materials. The results, benefits and challenges of the project will be evaluated during the project and it is intended to be done on a longer term basis. The latter will depend on getting funds. In order to observe progress within the sphere of teaching and learning, the Grupo AULA, in cooperation with the teachers at the schools, is responsible for a follow-up and evaluation of the project on a longer term basis.