After much work in the past weeks we have finally completed the installation of the utility center with the Shineran family in Susya this week. The center, which serves 8 families with about 1000 heads of sheep, includes a refrigerator and a butter making machine and is powered by a hybrid wind and solar electricity generating system. The actual installation was the culmination of months of preparations by the local community and the Comet-ME team – from the preliminary needs survey, the joint definition of the system, fund raising, all the technical preparation and construction, the tower itself which was purchased from a local welder in Yatta, to the installation in the Shineran. We had a very intensive week which started with bringing everything to Susya, three days in which we build all the electrical systems and a day in which we raised the turbine. Later a shed was built to house the system and finally we brought the refrigerator ( a highly efficient one with no freezer and a volume of 500 liters) and completed all the cables and final mountings of the equipment.
The real proof of the concept came when we first operated the turbine. Although the butter making machine was mentioned from the beginning we did not grasp its importance until there was enough energy in the system to operate it. The Shineran people had already bought one before the installation was over and the minute we span the turbine they brought it over – it is just a big drum with an old washing machine motor attached to it that drives a mixer – and filled it with freshly milked goat and sheep milk. The smile on their faces when they saw it is actually working, and commotion around the machine were enough to justify the whole project. The traditional way to make the butter (one of their main sources of income) is to manually shake a milk filled goat intestine for hours. The introduction of electricity will save each family several hours of manual labor each day.
There is still a lot we do not know: the production patterns, consumption patterns, the way it will affect the community, maintenance issues, and probably a lot more “unknown unknowns”. In many ways this is just the beginning of the road for this particular project and we look forward to see how it will develop.
We would like to extend our gratitude to the donors who made this project possible and ask you to consider contributing to the work we do – there is still a lot more we wish to achieve in the region. Visit our website for an in-depth look at what we do and what are our plans for the coming year and please forward this email to whomever you think might be interested.
All the best,
Noam and Elad.
Comet-ME : Community Energy Technology in the Middle East
visit us at: http://www.comet-me.org/