Help Needed : Solar powered Lab

Hello all,

I’ve been working with @jcm80, @chiara, @thomasmboa and others in Thomas’ molecular biology lab in Cameroon.
We are suffering from regular blackouts which is an issue since some of the reagents we are using need to stay at low temperature ; and fridges when off-power tend to not refrigerate so well.

We would ideally install a solar powered generator.
Has anyone done that before and has advices/protocols/best practices as to how to

  1. find what we need for that kind of endeavour (people, equipment…)
  2. set up a stable back-up using solar power to at least power a fridge/freezer and ideally also a centrifuge and PCR machine.
    Any Idea of the overall price (even though I realise You might not know the prices in Cameroon)
    Any thing we should absolutely not do ?

@hikinghack @amchagas , Jenny suggested you might be of good guidance so I’m tagging you specifically (no pressure)

Thanks in advance! :slight_smile:


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Hi @pia and all,

sorry to hear about the electricity troubles!

We had a similar problem in a workshop in Nigeria, and the solution there was to hire a company to come and install solar panels in the building, back then we were lucky enough to have a grant that allowed for this,

I think we spent for a system that would allow for 3 3D printers (120W each) to run off grid for 3-4 hours about 1500€. But I’m pretty sure the price was higher because we kind of needed it on the spot, and it was a bunch of foreigners dealing with local companies…

That said, there are many projects on about energy generation, with tutorials and how to’s… I do know someone who is heavily involved with the organization, so if you want I can put you in contact, maybe he has contacts in Cameroon as well?

let me know if there is anything I can do to help!


Hello @amchagas and thanks a lot for the prompt answer!
That’s really helpful!

Yes, Stephane (from Thomas’ lab) did mention that the fastest way would probably be to get in touch with companies in Yaoundé who would provide the solar backup service. He however said that those services were usually very expensive

Getting in touch with your appropedia contact would be great if you don’t mind introducing us, so we can have a clearer picture of the time-effort/price ratio and see what would be the most efficient way to go forward!

Thanks again!

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my pleasure!

send me an email? either here or through private message if you’d like so I can connect you.