Technical support for the development of activities under the EURO-SOLAR Programme
The general aim of the EURO-SOLAR Programme was to promote renewable energy in Latin America’s eight least-wealthy countries (Bolivia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Paraguay and Peru), so as to contribute to the improvement of living conditions in rural communities, supporting them in their struggle against the poverty, isolation and marginalisation caused by their socioeconomic conditions.
The programme’s specific aim was to provide a source of renewable electricity for common community-wide use in remote rural areas with limited or no access to the grid. The programme involved the installation of 600 electricity production kits based 100% on renewable sources. The programme is believed to have benefited more than 300,000 people in 600 rural communities that had no access to the grid.
EURO-SOLAR was a comprehensive programme, in that it was not just to install and deploy the equipment, but also to train members of the community in the use and maintenance of the kits, and also to support the development of basic services in the areas of education and information technology, health promotion and activities of a social and productive nature.
Actions and results
ITER was involved in the supplies commissioning programme, by preparing the technical specifications of the equipment, advising EuropeAid in relation to the tender process and appraising technically the proposed systems to ensure compliance with the requirements of the programme. In this evaluation phase, prototypes of the preselected equipment were set up in ITER’s facilities, where the reliability and compatibility of each item were analysed for a month.
A web application was developed to guide the installation and management of the equipment by the recipient communities. The app included a public section with an overview of the programme and about the facilities, and a private section featuring the following tools:
- Content Management System, to help ensure the correct deployment of the project: the process of installing the equipment, user training, equipment operation and maintenance.
- A checklist, available online, detailing the equipment to be received and for conducting technical quality checks on each item.
- Manual for managing the operators.
- Maintenance warning messages.
- A messaging service, a news service, a forum linking the communities involved, and a customer support and warranty service.
- A tracking form to monitor the running of the installations.
Following the delivery of the equipment, a formal process of introducing it to the communities took place. ITER was involved in this process, providing highly qualified technical personnel to conduct initial checks and to train local operator teams. The entire process was managed and supported via the said web application.
Once approved for use, the running of the installations was monitored remotely via the web, also by means of the tracking forms.