Renewable Energy for the Developing World – Hands-On 2016

April 2 to 10, 2016 - Rancho Mastatal, Costa Rica

Renewable Energy for the Developing World – Hands-On 2016

Learn about renewable energy technologies for the developing world in the developing world! Renewable Energy for the Developing World provides an introduction to all the major renewable energy technologies, with a focus on designing and installing small, rural systems. Interact with local members of the community, experience both the challenges and satisfaction of working within the developing world, and the opportunity to install systems that can dramatically improve the living conditions of the local people.

We’ll get our hands dirty — the majority of the workshop is hands-on field work, and it also includes classroom sessions and the following projects:

  1. Building and using solar ovens
  2. A solar hot water or solar-electric system
  3. Installing or maintaining a methane biodigestor

Workshop Topics include:

  • Solar Electricity
  • Wind Electricity
  • Micro-Hydro Electricity
  • Solar Hot Water
  • Solar Cooking and Food Drying
  • Methane Biogas Digesters (with Viogaz)
  • Technology Transfer and System Maintenance
  • Social & Cultural Issues of Working in the Developing World
  • Hands-On Installations in the Local Community

For millions of people around the world, renewable energy can replace dirty, expensive, and inconvenient energy. For those in the developing world, it may provide the first electric lights a family has seen, replacing darkness at sunset with the opportunity to read, study, or recreate after a day of work. This hands-on workshop teaches volunteers how to ensure quality renewable energy assistance to the people who are most in need.

In the classroom portion, students will gain a basic understanding of all the major renewable energy system types, including solar electricity, micro-hydro electricity, and wind electricity, solar cooking, solar hot water, and methane biogas digesters for developing world applications. Participants will learn the components, applications, and limitations for each system type, and will be able to analyze a site and make suggestions on the most appropriate renewable energy technologies.

Participants will join with Sol Verde, a women’s solar cooking cooperative from Guanacaste Costa Rica, to build and use solar cookers. Participants will also help install a small solar-electric system or solar hot water system, and will work together with Central American experts to build a methane biogas digester. These hands-on installations give participants the opportunity to interact with local members of the community and experience both the challenges and satisfaction of working within the developing world.

In our fourteenth year at Rancho Mastatal, this spring’s workshop builds on the success of our past workshops. Our program is focused on learning through hands-on work. We’ll spend about one-third of our time in the classroom, studying renewable energy technology basics. The rest of our time will be in the field or lab, getting our hands dirty, learning by doing. The course is taught in both English and Spanish. Price includes dorm bed, all meals and in-country transportation. Private accommodation may be available at additional cost (contact Rancho Mastatal). Ask about options for family members not taking the workshop.

Our schedule is designed to give you time to enjoy the beautiful surroundings and people of Mastatal. We try to take a two-hour lunch/siesta/swimming break in the middle of each day. And we take the middle day of the workshop off from our project work, to go on 
recreational or cultural trips in the area. Our past groups have experienced an educational, exciting, and inspiring time while having fun with a great group of people.

Learn more about about renewable energy in the developing world with Renewable Energy: A First Course from Amazon.