UK-based computer company Aleutia developed a modular solar-powered flatpack solution to rural education needs. In 10 developing African countries, Aleutia has deployed its Solar Classroom in a Box to 240 rural schools, which reach over 20,000 students in total. Aleutia has put a lot of thought and effort into building a classroom that can be delivered on a pick-up truck, assembled by a local handyman, and get students connected to the world faster than ever before.
Aleutia’s solar classroom isn’t the first, but its design shows major improvements over previous models used by other companies. The UK company figured out how to eliminate a few steps in the typical process used by other solar-powered portable classrooms. Doing this reduces energy loss, making this solar classroom a lot more efficient than others. The streamlined process is combined with low-power computers and a powerful T1 line for a high-tech educational venue that can be set up in the most off-grid of locations.
Modular classrooms are a relatively simple way to expand educational offerings where they are needed, particularly in rural areas. Aleutia’s director Mike Rosenberg told Gizmag that the team originally looked into repurposing old shipping containers for classrooms, but encountered a number of problems. Containers available near the schools were often rusted out, and although shipping containers may be great for a lot of projects, they weren’t the most practical in terms of transporting and setting up as solar classrooms. So, instead, Aleutia turned to local materials and developed a solution that would enable any local handyman to assemble the classroom – eliminating the need to send along a specialist for installation.
The Solar Classroom in a Box is made from cinder blocks and a corrugated tin roof, with a light gauge steel frame. The basic structure can be erected in a day, with a second day needed to outfit the classroom’s computers, solar panels, and batteries. Each classroom has 11 computers – 10 for students and one for a teacher, and costs around $20,000, split evenly between the cost for the structure and the equipment.
Kenya is the next destination, where Aleutia will deploy a solar classroom in each of the country’s 47 counties.
Images via Aleutia