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Learning About Solar Power in South Sudan: An International Collaboration

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

International Division Technical Session 1

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Susan M. Lord University of San Diego

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Susan M. Lord received a B.S. from Cornell University in Materials Science and Electrical Engineering (EE) and the M.S. and Ph.D. in EE from Stanford University. She is currently Professor and Chair of Integrated Engineering at the University of San Diego. Her research focuses on the study and promotion of diversity in engineering including student pathways and inclusive teaching. She is Co-Director of the National Effective Teaching Institute (NETI). Her research has been sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF). Dr. Lord is among the first to study Latinos in engineering and coauthored The Borderlands of Education: Latinas in Engineering. Dr. Lord is a Fellow of the IEEE and ASEE and is active in the engineering education community including serving as General Co-Chair of the Frontiers in Education Conference, President of the IEEE Education Society, and Associate Editor of the IEEE Transactions on Education (ToE) and the Journal of Engineering Education (JEE). She and her coauthors received the 2011 Wickenden Award for the best paper in JEE and the 2011 and 2015 Best Paper Awards for the IEEE ToE. In Spring 2012, Dr. Lord spent a sabbatical at Southeast University in Nanjing, China teaching and doing research. She is on the USD team implementing “Developing Changemaking Engineers”, an NSF-sponsored Revolutionizing Engineering Education (RED) project. Dr. Lord is the 2018 recipient of the IEEE Undergraduate Teaching Award.

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Mou Deng Riiny SunGate Solar

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More than 1 billion people in the world currently live in energy poverty. Solar energy has vast potential for South Sudan but there are challenges to implementing it. How can students and others such as technicians learn about the context of South Sudan and the particular engineering challenges for utilizing its abundant sunlight to provide energy? We capitalized on a unique opportunity to conduct an international collaboration between a solar power entrepreneur in South Sudan and an engineering professor in the USA to explore this topic. As part of an undergraduate independent study course, we designed two modules (introductory and advanced) on off-grid solar power for South Sudan. Meetings were held over zoom during the summer of 2020. The student brought his practical experience of owning and operating a solar energy company in South Sudan. The instructor brought her experience in developing educational materials. Each module included learning objectives, content, and exercises. Topics included Introduction to energy access in South Sudan, Principles of Electricity and Solar Energy Generation, Building blocks of a solar power system, Architecture of various solar power systems, Solar Company, and Design of Off-Grid PV Systems. Particular challenges for photovoltaics in South Sudan were highlighted. Finally, examples were drawn from the student’s experience with designing and installing solar power systems for customers in South Sudan to demonstrate the proper integration of the various components to meet a particular power need for a customer. In this work in progress, we introduce the context of solar energy in South Sudan, and describe the course, the modules designed, and lessons learned. These modules offer an opportunity for students in the USA and elsewhere to expand their global engineering mindset by learning about the context of South Sudan which few may have the opportunity to visit. We are continuing to improve these modules and welcome feedback from others in the larger community.

Lord, S. M., & Riiny, M. D. (2021, July), Learning About Solar Power in South Sudan: An International Collaboration Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. 10.18260/1-2--37424

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