Sunday, May 10, 2015

At Launch of Solar Technicians’Training: Cameroon OIC urged to maintain leadership

By Christopher Ambe
Camerooon OIC Diredtor.Clara Limunga Molua,
Cameroon OIC Buea has started training solar energy technicians in a project dubbed “Solar Technician Made in Cameroon’.
     At the launch of the project, Mr. Thomas Orock, Southwest Regional Inspector for Vocational Training, commended OIC and implored it to maintain its leadership position as a vocational training centre in the region.
It is the first ever training course on solar energy in the Southwest Region, The Recorder learned.
     The project, according to Madam Clara Limunga Molua, Programme Director of Cameroon OIC, is intended to contribute towards the realization of the Head of State’s vision of Cameroon becoming an emergent country by 2035.
“Being the first of its kind in Fako, the project will not only transform and revitalize but will supplement sustainable energy to the under-supplied energy sector of Cameroon and hence increase the wattage.consequently, the problems of deficiency and scarcity of electricity will be drastically curbed …once the implementation phase starts”, remarked the programme director, in her welcome to a large audience that turned up for the launch of the project, while thanking partners for their significant contributions.
     Seventeen (17) technicians- a majority sent by municipal councils and the rest self-sponsored have undergone the maiden four-week training, which ended last April 30, according to Ephanga Martin Ndive,OIC Training Manager.    
  “After the training, the trainees will go back to their councils and educate others on the importance of solar energy. In case any institution needs solar equipment, the trainees will contact OIC to facilitate their acquisition and installation”, he told The Recorder.
   The Cameroon OIC solar technician training has been carried out by Mr.Augustin Ndasi, Managing Director of HES Company-Limbe and his team of experts in the field of REN.
  The project is the fruit of  Cameroon OIC ‘s partnership with  AGI-Technologies,SEP and Sunpower EPE ( based in Germany and Greece),Haute Energy System(HES),Limbe-Cameroon who are experts in  the field of photovoltaic and other renewable energies, and  the Fako Cultural and Development Association(FACUDA e.V.) based in Germany.
    The launching of the Solar Technician made in Cameroon last April 7 on OIC campus, was chaired by Madam Ebot Margaret, Assistant Divisional Officer (ADO) for Buea,who sat in for the Divisional Officer Kouam Wokam Paul
 Madam Ebot hailed the initiators and partners of the OIC solar project, noting that it was in line with the commitment of the Government to revolutionize the energy sector in Cameroon. She was optimistic that the country would soon have “Solar Technicians Made in Cameroon”
     In a discourse on the importance of solar Energy, during the launching, Mr. Thomas Orock, Southwest Regional Inspector for Vocational Training, enumerated the uses of solar energy, which, he said, is environmentally friendly and healthy.
   “Cameroon OIC is considered the leader of vocational training in the Southwest and programmes like this enable you maintain your leadership position”, Mr. Orock happily told Cameroon OIC authorities, hoping that the pioneer solar technician trainees would be very committed.
   For his part, Mr. Eyong Tedd,who spoke on behalf of  Barrister Ekontang Elad,OIC Board Chair, noted that “ We (OIC ) are  redesigning our approach to training, according to the trends of times. We give the kind of training that makes trainees relevant not only now but also in future”
He advised the pioneer batch of “Solar Technicians Made in Cameroon” to be honest with their clients and not to exploit them,upon completion of the course.He said Cameroon OIC, which will next year clock 30 years, has trained tens of thousands of Cameroonians since its inception in 1986.
    Taking the floor, Engineer Emmanuel Elacko Efome, President of FACUDA e.V-the donor organization of the Cameroon OIC solar energy training project, said he was happy to return home “to make my own little contribution to a small development initiative in the field of solar energy”
   Engineer Efome,who is a native of Buea but based in Germany, was speaking on the occasion in three capacities. He was representing FACUDA e.V(the donor organization) based in Germany and two companies that shouldered the technical realization of the Solar energy training project-AGI Technologies and SEP Solar Energie  Projekt- both based in Germany
Engineer Efome thanked the German Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) and Engagement Global (the German Central contact agency that runs the selection process for funding development initiatives both at home and abroad) for funding  the OIC Solar Training project to the tune of 90% with the sum of 12.743.456 FCFA.
    He was particularly thankful to the Programme Director of Cameroon OIC, Madam Clara Molua for hosting the project and for her “unconditional support to its realization”. He equally commended OIC training manager Ephanga Martin Ndive “for bringing up the brilliant idea that led to this development initiative.”
   Engineer Efome said FACUDA e.V, which was formed in 2012, has as members persons living in Germany but who originate from Fako Division in Cameroon. “Our main objective is to promote development initiatives in Fako Division in particular and Cameroon in general”, he noted.

Why Train Solar Technicians?
According to Engineer Efome, “The constant increase in energy costs, the problem of persistent brownouts (voltage drop).blackouts and most importantly, the increasing awareness in climate change have pushed the business of renewable and alternative energy use in Cameroon to grow tremendously in the past years”
He noted that the renewable energy sector in the Southwest Region is lacking in manpower for planning, design, installation, monitoring and maintenance of renewable energy systems.

Immediate Objective
According to Engineer Efome, “Our immediate objective is to promote the training of technicians in the fields of Photovoltaics,in order that they may be able to understand the basics and the Process of planning,Designing,Installing and Maintaining PV systems. There is no other better place to carry out the training than OIC-its track record as vocational  training school for the past decades in different professional  fields  cannot be over emphasized, also and above all, its Management team that is open to innovation, even with the little means at their disposal, needs to be commended
“In Europe such technicians are known as solateurs,a training that started just about 15 years ago. So we are not trailing behind all that much if we start now to provide certified training programmes for renewable energy professions according to international guidelines”

Long term objective
According to Engineer Efome, “Our mission by venturing into the training aspect of renewable energy is  to set up a full fledged-training center for renewable energy technologies, with the long-term objective to develop skills for green jobs
“We also plan to promote start-up companies in REN technologies in the Region, search for funds to service start-up grants for REN business, promote knowledge acquisition and knowledge database creation. All these will go to enhance the creation of jobs, and put us at the forefront in advancing with the trends of these technologies”

Solar Power Applications and Benefits
-Solar power for chilling-refrigeration and air-conditioning
-Solar power for water heating
- Solar power for drying wood,cocoa,coffee(in industrial scale)
-Solar power for irrigation of crops
- Solar power for water pumping
- Solar power for our schools, homes, offices, rural hospitals and industries
- Solar power for street and signal lighting
- Solar power for telecommunications and IT solutions
- Solar power for automobiles ,ships and air crafts.
Engineer Efome concluded his presentation, noting: “The potential of REN techs to drive employment growth is immense and we should use this advantage”
 [ First published in The RECORDER Newspaper,Cameroon,of May 6,2015]

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