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A school in a remote village in the north-central African country of Uganda is the inspiration for a Sacramento State senior project. Now, they are hoping to raise awareness, and donations, to make their prototype a reality.

The village of Toggo is home to the International Children’s Center, with more than 800 students and teachers.

The school’s director, Pastor Steve Trint, explained their situation: “We have a few solar panels that provide light to a limited degree, and we have a generator that helps pump water, but neither system provides enough power for the entire TICC. When I use my laptop during the day for work, it means that at night, we will not have light for the students. Some buildings don’t even have light at all.”

Also lacking enough power are the pumps that bring clean water uphill to the school. Without clean water, many students drink from a nearby swamp, which makes them sick.

Three electrical engineering majors and a computer engineering major at California State University, Sacramento, teamed up to design an off-the-grid electricity generator. For their senior project, they built a prototype of a 100-watt solar DC micro grid.

The four hope to travel to Toggo and teach the school’s staff to build a system of solar modules based on their prototype. They estimate the cost of a 1-kilowatt system would be about $6,000.

Two of the Sac State students are members of Rocklin’s Bridgeway Christian Church, which has supported the Toggo school since it started in 2008.

The team has launched a fundraising site to collect donations to buy components for the Uganda project. Click here to donate, and select “solar project” in the allocation drop down menu.