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Put this Solar Collector in the sun and when water gets in, its temperature rises from 25 ◦C to 70 ◦C in less than 20 minutes! The National University of Lesotho (NUL) Innovation Hub and the NUL Energy Research Centre (ERC) have joined hands to create and bring this collector to the market. “We have gone through highs and lows in pursuit of this product,” said Thaane ‘Mokose, one of the team members developing the collector.

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This team of the fearsome threesome consists of Thaane ‘Mokose, Tadempe Lesenyeho and Molibeli Rakauoane. The trio is supervised by Dr Naleli Matjelo and Professor Leboli Thamae.

MILCO is a chainstore that will sell ONLY Made In Lesotho Products. Join Milco here: https://milco.co.ls/Member_register

So these dudes have come up with a solar collector that will tap into the sun’s free energy and reduce the costs of heating water in your home. The plate can work along with your existing geysor to reduce costs of electricity. Plus you can use it even if you live where there is no electricty as the team is developing insulated tanks to accompany the collector.

You might not be aware but a large chunk of your energy costs goes to the heating of water in your home. Scientists tell us that water has what they call a high “Heat Capacity”. That means it takes a lot of energy to raise the temperatue of water.

Some time ago, Thaane ‘Mokose and Molibeli Rakauoane were buddies doing 4th year Physics under the Department of Physics and Electronics at the NUL. They were intent on doing research on the possible application of sun’s energy for heating. After developing some complex Physics equations, they submitted their theories and graduated.

But they had other plans. They approached the NUL Innovation Hub and NUL ERC for assistance. They also met up with Tadempe Lesenyeho who was a Masters student under Energy Research Centre and they joined forces.

Agreements were made for them to be supervised by Prof Thamae and Dr Matjelo.

So they started.

Now the team is firing in several directions when it comes to development of solar energy products, focusing on Flat Plate Solar Collectors, Parabolic Solar Collectors and Hybrids of the two. “We are even developing Solar Cookers” ‘Mokose said.

So expect more fireworks in the coming weeks!

“We started with a simple solar kettle, which used plastic material casing,” he continued.

He said they then realised that Lesotho needed effient but low-cost solar collectors for a few reasons.

First, Lesotho is definetely not one of the hottest countries in Africa, certainly not during its snow-riddled winters. So there is nothing quite like basking in a good warm shower in a cold morning. However, Lesotho is also not among the top 7 richest countries in the world. Well, it does not appear in any list of countries considered rich. That means an average household finds the purchase of energy, especially in winter, a burden.

A great burden!

“There was a time when we used to find paraffin cheaper than electricity. Now we think electricity is cheaper than parafin,” said one frustrasted Mosotho.

Fews things, if any, address the problem of high energy cost better than the use of direct energy from the sun. It comes pure and, wait for it…free!

But, harnessing that energy is not as simple as it sounds.

So these folks decided to take the bull by its horns. They started with a flat plate solar collector. It had to be of low cost to the extent possible. So they focused on using materials that were available in local stores. On the other hand, they wanted to ensure they designed products of high quality.

“Even if solar heating saves energy costs in the long run, the cost of buying conventional collectors in the market is a major roadblock,” said ‘Mokose. “We are trying to address this issue with this product.”

So they designed the solar collector by selecting materials that were not only ready to take heat but also to give it away. “So this material traps the sun’s heat and transfers it to the circulating water in the pipes inside the plate, heating the water.”

They still had to ensure that the plate could trap even more of the sun’s rays. “We coated this material with a special chemicals which traps the sun’s rays more efficiently.” They then selected a special kind of plastic material to enclose the plate.

The material is highly transparent to allow light to pass through. Unlike glass, it does not break easily. It is more insulating because, well, it is a plastic. It is very strong, stronger than most plastics you know. It resists all kinds of wheather: rain, snow, sunlight you name it!

In the end, a really good solar collector is here!


MILCO is a chainstore that will sell ONLY Made In Lesotho Products. Join Milco here: https://milco.co.ls/Member_register

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