A year ago, in February 2022, I was starting the "Women Sustainable Energy Programme" (PESM), in which over five months I was able to receive tools and learn strategies for developing what became my final project, "The Vanha Society Project".
The PESM conclusion granted me a USD 5,000 support for the development and implementation of my project in São Tomé and Príncipe.
On our agro-tourism plantation we have accommodation and recently built a restaurant and an essential oils and spirits distillery. This touristic offer is the main focus of our visits, where we also taste local products and typical regional dishes.
Since our location is in a very isolated place, there is no connection to the public electricity grid, so we have many limitations in terms of energy access and we are also dependent on fuel generators. To try to overcome this difficulty, and thus offer better conditions for visitors and start running the restaurant, we developed a project that would make use of hydroelectric energy using water that is already channelled from a catchment in a nearby stream, with adequate conditions for this type of system.
However, the support received in PESM was not enough to support all the costs of this project and it was not yet possible to obtain additional funding (support this project here).
Therefore, we have decided to direct that support to the purchase of a solar photovoltaic kit. The solar photovoltaic kit was bought in Portugal and works at 48 V, consisting of six panels of 455W of power each, with eight 6 V batteries of 260 Ah and an inverter of 4000 VA.
The implementation of the photovoltaic solar kit allows the operation of refrigerators and freezers, which are indispensable for food and products preservation in this isolated region of the island, but also enables the use of small food processing equipment (juices, mixers, etc.) in order to serve all the meals, snacks and cocktails.
It was the acquisition of this solar photovoltaic kit that allowed us to open the restaurant doors in December. Since then, the photovoltaic solar kit has given us enormous satisfaction and so far we have not suffered any inconvenience with the system.
Having energy access 24 hours per day, in a safe and clean way has allowed us to grow our activity in the Vanha Beach agro-tourist plantation and to make the desired service on the plantation feasible, creating a new touristic offer in the South of the country.
Our touristic offer is innovative and brings added value to the attractiveness of the southern area, with direct effects, already with the creation of two job posts (cooks), and indirect effects, with the increase of purchases from local suppliers, thus benefiting the economy of the southern region of São Tomé and Príncipe.