The very first email discussing the possibility of bringing solar to Wat Opot was on 22 Dec. 2015, and exactly 1 year, 8 months and 9 days later we are up and running. Countless hours were spent emailing back and forth between multiple countries, organizations and participants. Over 330 emails were sent with the longest gmail chain consisting of 83 emails!
In the end over $22,500USD were raised by the Sakka Foundation and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) to cover everything from the cost of the entire system, shipping costs and international receiving fees to clearing the land and building a cement base to house the panels.
So, to start from the beginning…here’s the large unused piece of land that we cleared to make way for the system. It’s nice to live in a community/village where we are well known and well connected. Our nighttime toddler caregiver’s husband cleared the land with his tractor.
We were fortunate to have the monks from the Wat next door come help out. The Wat owns the cement mixer and they knew how to use it best…It was a hot day and the monks dressed down for the occasion as it is hard doing manual labor wrapped in layers of material. We are also fortunate to have students from HKUST travel to Cambodia to help and also so many able bodied kids who love to get dirty!
Shipment finally arrived at Wat Opot.
And we got right to work unloading it and carrying it, piece by piece, to the cement base!
Two HKUST students and 2 Chinese engineers arrived to show us how to put together ALL those pieces.
The kids are quick learners and it wasn’t long before they put their skills to work.
With all the metal brackets in place and every screw tightened just so, the panels went up rather easily.
I would say a rather successful first day!
Day 2 started with finishing the panel installation and starting to connect all the wires.
Handling the heavy panels was not a job for the little kids, so they took refuge from the hot sun under the very panels that needed it!
Finishing touches as the sun was setting on the 2nd day.
Day 3 was spent wiring all those panels together and figuring out how to plug into our current electric, (this is an on-grid system) which is easier said than done. Translations before hand (from Mandarin to Cantonese to English to Khmer) could be met with mishaps and laughter, but when dealing with the electrical part, things had to be a lot more precise.
Transformer going in.
And mid-morning of the 4th Day we were running on solar power! Some of the kids held their breath ‘waiting for the explosion’…I guess we had warned them too much about the dangers of all those wires!
Thank you so much to each and every one involved, from those of you behind the scenes whose email inbox was flooded, to the tireless volunteers who competed the installation in record time.
We are ever thankful for all of our donors.
Thank you for stopping by.