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SA: First Solar-Powered computer lab

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MEC for Education, Yousuf Gabru, opened the first solar-powered school computer laboratory today.

The Khanya Project of the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) installed the laboratory at Bernadino Heights Secondary School in Kraaifontein.

The task is to install and support technology to enhance teaching and learning in the schools. Scarce energy and power resources and effect of technology on the ecology and the ever-rising cost to consumers of energy and power, makes the launch of the solar powered computer laboratory a significant event

The important role of technology in society, mirrored by the growing number of schools, which Khanya has placed computer laboratories, place a demand on the country’s overextended electric resources.

Khanya began work on this project a year ago. Bernadino Heights an exceptionally well managed school that serves the poor community. The Installation of the project was completed in the period of just one month. Upgrades to the hardware have reduced the power usage to nearly a third of the power used by a traditional Khanya laboratory and this power is then solar generated.

The solar laboratory has been running successfully for three months and according to KHanya no difficulties have been experienced. The focus of this pilot project was determining that solar energy could be used to power a Khanya Lab.

This Lab is seen as a stepping stone of energy saving, environment friendly technology installations. It has the potential to be of significance in rural area where power and energy supply is problematic.

By IT News Africa staff reporter


  1. eKhaya ICT coordinated a project to setup a solar computer laboratory in a remote rural school in the Eastern Cape. We settled on a school in April 2007 and peripheral construction improving structures began as early as August 2007. The project launched officially on the 1st of August. Unfortunately no MECs were present as the EC Cabinet was being reshuffled.

    I would say quite cheekily that we pipped Khanya by a week! The Grocott’s Mail first alerted me to the fact that we might have the first solar computer lab in SA. I thought this had been done ages ago.

    Ron Wertlen

    PS. please check out our website for specifications of the project which includes a Wifi Mesh network and three schools.

  2. i could be wrong but i believe there is an earlier project from sometime in 1996, providing a solar powered computer lab, amongst other things, at the myeka high school in maphephethe south africa.

    it’s great that there is so much happening in this area. our children are our future, their education and access to basic needs is a right, not a privilege.

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