Solar Power isn't Feasible!

Solar Power isn't Feasible!
This cartoon was on the cover of the book "SolarGas" by David Hoye. It echoes the Sharp Solar slogan "Last time I checked nobody owned the sun!"

Friday, March 27, 2009

Solar Satisfaction Survey in Poor Neighborhoods in Cairo: Results

The following post shows the 30 + solar hot water systems that Roh El Shabab and Solar CITIES have built in Cairo.

The map above shows the relative locations of the systems. 15 are located in Darb Al Ahmar (left-top) and 15 in the Zabaleen community of Manshiyet Nasser (right-bottom). This map is oriented with the top as due north. Al Azhar Park can be seen in green and the city of the dead to its right. The Muqattam hills are visible at the bottom right of the map; downtown Cairo is to the left side of the map. The Cairo airport is located above the map, reachable by both Salah Salam street (running along the right side of the park) and the Autostrad (running to the right of the city of the dead and adjacent to the Zabaleen commuity).


The enemy. All over Cairo advertisements for electric hot water heaters tower over the streets. The intent of the electric hot water appliance companies is clearly illustrated by this photo: where buildings are under construction create the illusion that the logical thing to have when your apartment is finished is an electric heater. The electric heaters inefficiently draw on an overstrained electric grid supplied by climate changing fossil fuels (no, The Aswan High Dam no longer provides enough energy for Egypt!). In nearby Tunisia, however, another paradigm rules. In Tunisia all new buildings MUST have solar hot water systems. With its old modernist paradigms Cairo seems to be rushing headlong into the 1960s while other North African countries are well into the 21st century...


The hero. Roh El Shabab (Spirit of Youth) renewable energy coordinator and Solar CITIES' Green Collar Job Trainer Hanna Fathy apprenticed with T.H. Culhane and then built and installed all 30 of the hand-made solar hot water systems now gracing the rooftops of Darb Al Ahmar and Manshiyat Nasser! Hana's gift for everything from innovation, design, planning, accounting, sourcing, construction, plumbing, social networking, training, empowering and employeeing local craftspeople make him the most important community catalyst in Cairo, with a very bright future ahead of him! In a time when the fossil fuel and nuclear industries threaten us all with pollution, violent conflict and climate change, Hanna is ushering in a brighter future for the beleagured Middle East and North Africa region.

The Team: Here Hanna poses with his crew -- "the boys of Roh El Shabab", Adham, Nabil, Abu Nob and Moussa, working on 'Am Hussein's roof at night as they collectively build Solar Hot Water System DH 3 (see below).


The map above shows the locations of each of the 15 systems currently operating in the Darb Al Ahmar Neighborhood. Note that the map is oriented with East on top, South to the right. The green area on top of the map is Al Azhar Park. If you would like to visit the Solar CITIES homes please contact Solar CITIES coordinator Hanna Fathy at .

System DH 1:

DH 1, Building 72 Darb Shuglan Street:

DH 1, Building 72 Darb Shuglan Street.
Date of Installation: April 2008
Period of operation: 11 months

This is one of two professional Chinese vacuum tube systems we purchased from RSD Technologies so that we could demonstrate to each community the latest technologies being used in solar heating and provide training so that the thermodynamic principles could be understood. The system cost 5300 LE and supplies three families.

System Size: 300 liters
Number of people served: 8
Previous system: Electric
Results: Now keep electric hot water heater off.
Savings: 30 LE per month

System DH 2:

System DH 2, #4 Abu Huryeba.
Date of installation: October 2007
Period of operation: 1 year six months
This was actually the first system we built. We constructed the parts at the Roh El Shabab Zabaleen Recycling School and carried them across the city of the dead and set them up on building 72. Later we moved it to the roof of the Solar CITIES apartment. The absorber plates on this model are made from recycled butter tins.

System DH 3:

'Am Hussein's family previously heated their water in the narrow stairwell, using a smoky, dangerous kerosene brass "bagur" as is the tradition in this area of the city. It is estimated that more than 10,000 people die in Cairo each year from respiratory illnesses while over 300 suffer third degree burns from water heating accidents.

DH 3 #50 Haret Aslan, the home of Carpenter/Furniture Maker 'Am Hussein.
Date of installation: March 2008
Period of operation: 1 year

Today 'Am Hussein's family has safe, clean, reliable, hot water 'on-tap'. When we visited last time with National Geographic TV they proudly said, "we threw our babur away. Now we only use sunshine."

Maintenance: Cracked glass, needs silicon repair. Silicon needs replacement elsewhere -- seem sthat over time silicon shrinks and cracks so needs periodic replacement. 10 cm strip insulation (cylindrical) not finished. Must keep all pipes (including vent pipe) on Hussein's side of the roof to prevent leakage to neighbors roof.


System DH 4:

System DH 4, #75 Darb Shuglan.
Date of Installation: June 2008
Period of operation: 10 months
This system is also next to and visible from the old Ayyubid Wall.
As in System DH 5, the wind shear along the wall tore the insulation off of the hot water tank.

Survey Data:
Name: Abdul Hamid Badawy
Address: 75 Darb Shughlan
Occupation: Army, retired
Age: Over 50
Education: Technical Diploma, Airplane Technician
Number of people served: 2
Number of connections: 2nd floor and 1st floor apartments.
2.1 (2) Had heard about solar but never seen.
2.2 Has had system less than 1 year
2.3 When there is no sun supplements with electric heater
2.4 (1) Doesn't consider this a problem at all.
2.5 Ratio 90% Solar, 10% electric
3.1 Previous system was Electric Olympic 30 liters
3.2 Has had this system for 10 years.
3.3. Disadvantages of electric heater: No water pressure in community so it burns up when there is no water. It also accumulates bad stuff on heater element because water is not clean
3.4 Before previous electric system had another electric system for 12 years. They last about 10 to 12 years, but get eaten by bad water. Heater element burned out when water lower.
4.1 Savings are 1/3 from energy bill. Used to be 70 LE per month for electricity. With solar he now pays 40 LE per month (savings of 30 LE monthly).
In Winter, January and February it is overall weak but on sunny days it is still good. Out of the 60 days about 20 were good.
4.2 How satisfied (3) Middle.
4.3 Disadvantages: None, but had problem because neighbors misunderstood that they must not open both electric heater and solar heater valves at same time; caused backflow to roof, flooded. Also, insulation broke because of wind.
4.4 Advantages: Saving on electric bill. Immediate Hot Water (remarks that with electric heater must wait 15 minutes for water to heat.)
5.5 Leaks and lack of understanding: Opened electric and solar at same time last year flooded the downstairs. Problem caused by human error, ignorance, too many users and not all of them trained. Didn't know what valve to close to stop the flooding.
Maintenance problem: Insulation on square box dried, flew away. Otherwise not a problem keeping it up. "We would clean the panels from dust every two weeks. But we weren't told about repairing the silicon. Still the minor maintenance is worth it."
6.1 Would definitely recommend to neighbors.
7.1. WTP: Would pay up to 1,500 LE upfront for the system and would ask for micro-credit loan for 2000 and pay 40 LE monthly for 4 years to pay off the balance . Has constant work.
10. Thinks biogas system would be unpopular because of the 2 hour time limit factor for the 1000 liter system. Says "this is an urban problem -- people do not want to make the effort in the city to be self-sufficient. In India it may be different, they live in less dense high rises maybe. But we are used to butagas bottles here. People won't understand the need to grind up their bio waste.


System DH 5:

System DH 5, # 73 Darb Shuglan.
Date of Installation: July 2008
Period of Operation: 9 months
Osama Mohammed, Carpenter
9 people served in two bathrooms on second and third floor
Had heard about SHW, generally from hotels.
Period of operation: 6 months (since Ramadan)
Previous system: Butagas (stove) (had electric for 3 years but abandoned because of danger and expense). In 60's and 70's used babur (kerosene) but says "it was dangerous, could explode". Brother Mustafa Mahmoud Mahmoud "Youssef" has a gas heater, but is also connected to the solar HW and saves money this way. Both prefer solar because of SAFETY and running costs.
Rank systems in terms of safety: Solar/Gas/Electric/Butagas/Hamil/Babur
Rank systems in terms of Cost: Solar/Gas/Electric
Rank in terms of Convenience: Gas/Electric. In the Summer Solar is the Most Convenient, but not in the winter.
Uses only solar water when sun is strong; on cloudy days uses warmed water from solar system and heats it on the stove.
Now saves one gas bottle (8 LE) per month. "We had an electric heater but we shut it off because it used too much electricity. We went back to using stove, but we kept the electric heater. But when we got this solar heater we had the electric heater removed completely. We had had it for three years. We don't want it around any more. We are afraid of electric heaters. They are dangerous, so we don't like electric heaters. The SHW is safe and only takes 30 seconds to get the hot water. But in winter it is inconvenient." Satisfaction level 3. (Would be highest if we had a built in back up heater). " Yes, we would recommend to neighbors. The toilet float valve (Owama) was a problem -- nobody understood how it worked. We had the same problem that our neighbor (System MN 4) had with water backing up onto the roof when somebody turned on both their conventional heater and the solar heater at the same time but we avoided flooding (nafura) because we had learned from our neighbors experience. But the operation and maintenance of the system had not been explained fully enough. We would like more training.
WTP: "People are poor in this community. And we don't like loans, but maybe if the systems were financed like the big companies do the electric heaters, with a guarentee. I would like to be able to pay the same sort of downpayment -- about 500 LE, and maybe 20 LE per month. When the AKTC proposed cost sharing for paving the street of 100 LE per month people refused"
Says average income of area is about 300 LE per month.
Would participate in Biogas project: "We wouldn't throw out garbage if we had such a system. It would be good because it would help keep the street clean, and would save us about 8 LE per month for the cooking gas bottle."

This system is along the old Ayubbid Wall. You can see the rooftop garden in this photograph. High Winds from along the wall tore the insulation off of the hot water tank reducing system performance. As a consequence all new Solar CITIES systems will be built with cylindrical rather than square insultion surfaces.

Maintenance: T.H. fixed their cold water storage tank Owama. Silicon needs replacement on panels (dust and moisture getting in). HW tank needs new insulation method (wind blew apart the square styrofoam box). Valve on HW rise was closed -- consumer needs to be trained in how to use valves!.


System DH 6:

Photo missing.

System DH 6, #8 Abu Hureyba. Gada's System,
Date of Installation: October 2008
Period of operation: 6 months


System DH 7:

System DH 7; #5 Haret Al Rom. Ali's system overlooking the historic Public Bath.
Date of Installation: March 2008
Period of operation: 1 year

System DH 7; Ali and his system. This system, located above the public bath, was featured in the National Geographic Television piece on our work. It didn't require two tanks because Ali already had his own elevated roof storage tank.


System DH 8:

System DH 8 at 19 Darb Al Ahmar Street, The Historic Public Bath of Islamic Cairo:
Date of Installation: System 1, February 2009, System 2 March 2009.
Period of operation: 1 month

System DH 8 at 19 Darb Al Ahmar Street, behind the venerated Darb Al Ahmar Public Baths. Here Hanna Fathy and the bath proprietor, Omar, worked with T.H. Culhane and trained members of the Darb Al Ahmar Environmental Science Center team to build a 4 panel, 4 tank solar hot water system providing the bath with 400 liters of hot water each day to look for ways to revive the famous Hammam tradition in the area.


System DH 9:

System DH 9, #16 Haret Saddalah (Hassan Muhammed).
Date of Installation: January 2008
Period of operation: 3 months.

This system complements a rooftop garden.


System DH 10:

System DH 10, # 15 Haret El Souq. Hag Muhammed.
Date of Installation: January 2009
Period of operation: 3 months

The owners of this system didn't want their roof space occupied so they had the system placed too close to the western wall. Consequently it gets shaded after 3 o'clock. Nonetheless it was producing 55 degree water in early March. The family didn't know this however. When interviewed they said they would continue using their electric system until the winter was over. When we checked the roof we found that the valve was closed and that they had never tried the system, making the assumption that it wouldn't work until the weather was warm -- a common misunderstanding about solar hot water systems. We showed them that it was producing hot water every day and had them try it in their bathroom. They promptly turned off the electric heater saying, "if we had known that we would have been using this every sunny day this winter!"


System DH 11:

System DH 11, #2 Zuqaq Al Nakhla. Hag Fathy's system.
Date of Installation: February 2009
Period of operation: 2 months

This system is on the roof of the home of Hag Fathy whose shoe business is on the famous Bab Zuela-Khan El Khalili road. Hag Fathy has a rooftop garden so he also appreciates the presence of 200 liters of cold water storage (blue barrel) under pressure all year long. This way, even when the water is cut in the community his plants don't die and he and his family can take hot showers.

System DH 11. Hanna inspects the system as part of his "quality assurance rounds" and finds the water to be bath temperature even on a cloudy day.

System DH 11. Hanna demonstrates a solar hot water tank temperature of 37 degrees on a cloudy afternoon of March 13 2009. On the sunny day previous he recorded 62 degrees.


System DH 12:

System DH 12, #7 Atfet Mubayyid.
Date of Installation: November 2008
Period of Operation: 5 months

The owner, an elderly woman named Hana, has a rooftop garden.


System DH 13:

System DH 13, #5 Atfet Mubayyid.
Date of Installation: September 2008
Period of operation: 7 months
The owner also has a rooftop garden and is a member of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture Environmental Group. She attended a Solar CITIES presentation on the possibility for local industrial ecology systems given by T.H. Culhane at the AKTC a year ago and now wants to complement her SHW system and rooftop garden with biogas and wind power.

System DH 13 at night with the enthusiastic owner.


System DH 14:

System DH 14: Abdullah Baik Street.
Beneficiary: Sulaiman Agha.
Date of Installation: October 2008
Period of operation: 6 months

Previous system: Electric
Monthly savings with solar: 20 - 30 LE
Participation: Helped build system
Complaints: None
Satisfaction: Highest
Interest in personal biogas system: high
Rooftop garden: Present

DH 14, Sulaiman Agha used to heat his home on Abdullah Bak street with a 40 liter electric system. Since installing the hand-made Solar CITIES system he says he hasn't used the heater once. "I cover it up with this gray cloth" he says, removing the shroud like covering "because I don't even want to look at it any more. It cost me too much and I am happy to be rid of it!"


System DH 15

System DH 15, #19 Harat Zarat Al Nawat under construction: A family affair: Hussein, his daughter Rana, his son Amr and his wife work late into the night with Hanna Fathy on their roof building solar collectors.

System DH 15. Solar CITIES co-founder T.H. Culhane teaches Darb Al Ahmar Environmental Science Center Teacher Rana Farag how to weld polypropylene plumbing pipes while she participates in the construction of her family's very own hand-made solar hot water system.

System DH 15, Solar CITIES Green Collar Job Coordinator Hanna Fathy supervises while Rana Farag drills holes to create her family's solar hot water tank from a recycled plastic shampoo barrel. Her father and sister, who have just finished painting solar absorbers, cheer her on.

System DH 15. Rana Farag, a teacher at the new Darb Al Ahmar Environmental Science Center, training with Solar CITIES as she builds a solar hot water and a biogas system on her own roof. She stated "I'm going to be Darb Al Ahmar's Hanna Fathy" and then added, smiling at Hanna competitively-- "only better!"

System DH 15, completed. Hussein Soliman Farag's system.
Date of Installation: March 15th 2009
Period of operation: 2 weeks

Hussein had the brilliant idea to hang the solar panels from the wall of his roof so that they wouldn't take up any roof space. He also saved us the cost of a stand for the hot water barrel by mounting it on wooden crossbeams between two walls. For the panel hanger Hussayn created a design with Hanna and T.H. based on a hanging flower planter he had on his roof, and had the local ironsmith weld it together. This is the first hanging panel system in Egypt. The author had previously seen only such system before, in Pune, India. Thanks to Hussayn's ingenuity now Solar CITIES can provide balcony and roof wall hanging systems for family's without sufficient roof space.
This will increase our service area dramatically!



The above map shows the locations of the 15 + hand-made solar hot water systems Roh El Shabab and Solar CITIES built in the Zabaleen community. The map is oriented with the top facing roughly E-SE and the right side of the map facing S-SW. The road at the bottom of the map is "Kubry Manshiya" (the Manshiyat Nasser Bridge on the Autostrad) and the top most part of the map is the Coptic Samaan Monastery, where we installed a solar hot water system for the cafeteria. The left side of the map shows the Association for the Protection of the Environment, where we installed a hot water system for the women who recycle paper (so they don't have to work all day with their hands in tubs of cold water) and the Coptic Church.

System MN 1:
System MN 1: Dir Samaan Monastery (Dir Al-Qadees Samaan Al-Khiraz):
Date of Installation: April 2008
Period of Operation: 11 months.

T.H. Culhane, visiting from Germany, inspects the system and interviews the Monsastery cafeteria staff to determine their satisfaction with the imported vaccum tube solar hot water system.

System MN 1, Equivalent to DH 1 -- a 300 liter vacuum tube system purchased from Alaa Watidy at RSD Technologies, Heliopolis. We installed one of these in each community so that they could learn about the latest technologies for solar thermal applications and be able to compare them with our home-made, hand-made systems.

System MN 2:
System MN 2, Hanna Fathy's roof.
Date of Installation: November 2007
Period of operation: 1 year, 4 months.
Hana Fathy's "Penthouse Pad "
This is Solar CITIES central office in the Zurayib Zabaleen community. Here Hana and the team build all the solar hot water panels and systems we use to make our community-created industrial ecology systems.
Hanna's house has the first truly functional solar hot water system we built, reflecting all of our iimproved designs.
The roof serves as a base not only for cold and hot water storage but the beginnings of the first rooftop garden in the area.
Since it is one of the tallest buildings in the neighborhood it offers a supreme view of the community, the city of the dead and even Al Azhar park. A great place to watch sunsets!
Hana's family serves guests tea and home made bread and cheese here before you continue your tour. The bread is baked in a traditional mud brick oven just behind the solar panels and the rooftop animal shed.
Prior to building a solar hot water system Hana's house had no water service at all and no pipes, merely a standpipe at the entrance to the door that gave water perhaps once a week. Home has mother, Romani, Ayman, Sister, wife of Ayman...
On Saturday, Nov 3rd 2007, after AUC field trip after dark, I stood in the street surrounded by rats. Ayman, Hana's brother drove me and Darb Al Ahmar Solar CITIES coordinator Mahmoud Dardir to Al Azhar park and tod us his Uncle's 10 month old baby was killed by rats two years ago. Now they have a new child and must always worry about the rat threat.
Solar Hot water systems can allow families to better seal the windows in the house against rats. Normally windows have to be kept open because people heat water on the stove which creates carbon monoxide and dioxide poisoning.
System MN 3:

System MN 3 Roh El Shabab (Spirit of Youth) NGO Office.
Date of Installation: February 2008
Period of Operation: 1 year and 1 month
This system was the first solar hot water system we know of where the collector box is built out of recycled plastic trash bags. The bags were collected, sorted, washed and shredded by the Zabaleen, then sent to the desert factory of PrimaPlast where they were melted and then pressed into a sheets under a thousand ton press. While heavier than the aluminum boxes we normally use they work quite well. Their cost however is currently equivalent to that of the aluminum sheets and the factory at Madinat Al Badr is too far away for us to practically use them given the weight and transportation costs. Still, we have proven that one can find an aftermarket use for plastic bags residuals in the solar heating industry.
Roh El Shabab (Spirit of Youth) is an NGO made up of members of the Zabaleen community and is active in all areas of Environmental Technology. Roh El Shabab is responsible for the 30 hand-made solar hot water systems now on roofs throughout Cairo, and is looking to expand its green-collar job training program. The director is Ezzat Naem Guindy, who can be reached at
System MN 4:

System MN 4, Adham Fawzy's "solar shelter", a combination goat house, cooling rabbit hutch and hot water system.
Date of Installation: December 2007
Period of Operation: 1 year 3 months

System MN 5 :
Prior to the building of the Solar CITIES solar hot water system, Mina and his family heated water on a "kanoon" -- a traditional rural campfire, fueled with garbage -- urban wastes -- rather than agricultural wastes. This led to the production of dangerous toxic smoke.

System MN 5 Mina Atwan''s House
Date of Installation: December 2007
Period of Operation: 1 year, 3 months

Solar Cities' "Mina House"
This is the first site on the Solar CITIES trail, at the edge and entrance to the Zabaleen community. Mina and his family live as though they were still in the countryside because they have open space in front of the dramatic rock quarry. With all that sunlight it was natural to build a solar hot water system here -- the first one you see as you drive into the community.
On this stop you can see the impressive rock quarry, almost as deep as a pyramid is tall, with its massive stone cutting blades, and see a traditional mud brick oven in use.
T6 - Street Furn - Zarayib Abu Mina Adwan Head of Household None - Kanoun 1
Mina is a student at the informal school. He is 12 years old. His family has 9 people in it -- Mama, Baba, and 7 children. Youngest is 2 and 1/2 years old.
The main occupation is rock quarrying in the deep quarry in front of the house. Mina's family lives in a makeshift house bult of unfinished concrete lock on wide side and cut stone from the quarry on the other. Most of the house cluster is one story and is built without mortar. Most of the rooms have no real roof, but are covered with corrugated tin, wood boards, cardboard and thin veneers of concrete. We determined that most of the house's roof, even the parts with concrete, will not support water storage. The family has invested in a 1000 LITER WHITE OBLONG HEAVY DUTY PLASTIC WATER STORAGE TANK (the kind with a metal support cage) that is kept outside the door of the house module on the far right, next to the only available water tap.
The Water Tap is outside the front wall of the 3 houses that make up the cluster. It supplies water at a good pressue because, as the family says "we are at the bottom of the hill so all the water flows by gravity down to us." Water pressure, without a motor (which the family does not have) is sufficient to pump water to the roof.
One of the sons, Sam'aan, has built a sturdier house to the left (where our placemark is) with two stories, out of cement and brick with a roof that can "support 7 tons" (he tells me proudly). Sam'aan has experience working as an air condtioning and refrigerator repair technician. His roof is now covered with plastic bottles and cans, but he wants to make room for a solar hot water heater. Solar exposure is optimal here, with a wide open skyline.
The households all heat their bathing water in metal containers (20 liters) in a QANOON made of uneven rocks from the quarry area. They fire the QANOON with garbage and waste wood. They say it takes only 10 minutes to get the water to a boil, as opposed to 20 or 30 minutes using butagas. This, they say, is because the fire is hotter and the rocks stay hot (basically this is a big campfire.)
The family also has a mud brick cone oven like Hanna has on his roof, and plenty of fruit trees (guava, grape arbor shading the door, balah (date palm) and vegetables. They explain to me that they moved here from the Countryside 50 years ago and settled here. 32 years ago Sam'aans father came here (families come here in waves, invited by other family members, as opportunities dry up in the countryside). Sam'aan was born here 20 years ago. He says "we just take the traditions we used in the countryside and do them here. We have an advantage having this open area, so it is like we are still on the farm. We can grow food and we can cook and warm water the way we always did on the farm. People inside the community are less fortunate -- they can't use an oven like ours for example (although Hanna's and Romani's family do have similar mud brick ovens on their roofs) or boil water in a Qanoon because there is no space and the smoke and fire danger are too great. But we can do this here. We have a butagas oven for cooking inside, but the Qanoon is cheaper and faster. When people come home from work around 4 p.m. we start the fire. We have no pipes in the house, and no bathroom. We just pour the boiling water into buckets with colder water and carry into the house and bathe in whatever room is free. There are no drains."
The water storage tank is for when the entire communities' water is cut.
They use 2 butagas bottles a month for cooking as opposed to 4 or more for a similar family heating water for bathing.
"People have offered us lots of money for this property but we refuse to sell because of the view." They pay the government 200 LE per year for land taxes. Govt. can take land away at any time.

System MN 6:
System MN 6, Imad Ridha's House.
Date of Installation: February 2008
Period of Operation: 1 year and 1 month
Moussa and Hanna finish installing the system, this one also with collector boxes made from recycled plastic bags. Here, on this windy roof under the pigeon house, experiments with cylindrical insulation on the hot water tank proved that this design is better at withstanding the wind shear which caused the rectangular box insulation to break in Darb Al Ahmar.

System MN 7:
System MN 7 Romani Magdy's House.
Date of Installation: February 2008
Period of Installation: 1 year and 1 month

Romani's system, like that of the Roh El Shabab NGO head office, also uses boxes constructed from recycled plastic trash bags pressed into panels. Romani's system had to be moved when the family built an additional floor on their house. Fortunately the Solar CITIES design permits easy disassembly and reassembly.

Romani is Hana Fathy's cousin. His roof is the first one to have a solar hot water system whose panel box is made from recycled plastic trash bags (compressed into panels by the PrimaPlast factory out in Madinat Badr). Behind the panels is a traditional mud brick oven where his mom bakes bread; the rest of the roof is covered with trash that is destined for recycling, and serves as a sorting and storage center. Beneath the house is a literal pig stye!
Previous Experience:
T3 - Street راجب حكيم - Zarayib ام رماني مجدي Wife Yes Present 1 USES ONE EYE HEATER 1
Romani's House
9 people in family: Mama, Baba, 6 Sisters, Romani, ages 20, 19, 18, 17, 16, 14. Romani is 19.
"We all bathe after work: 4 bottles every 20 days. 2 big, 2 small.
6 LE - 7 LE per bottle for the big ones, 4.5 - 5 LE for the small bottle.
Adham's mother says they use gas for meat, mulakhiya, tea, milk and bathing. She says they spend about 25-30 LE per month on hot water for bathing.
They have a color TV and a computer but they say these use "little electricity." They say TVs and computers are important because they can "share experiences with others" and be part of the global community.
Mother says "it takes 1/2 hour to prepare hot water for one bucket." Romani says, "But one bucket is not enough for me to bathe so it takes me up to an hour to take a bath. Especially in the winter when the water is colder. If I am late or in a hurry I have to take a cold bath."
Romani's mother confirms that with 7 children it takes 3-7 hours a day for preparing bath water, especially when they were young and needed two baths a day.
Everyone in the family takes 1 Bastila (10 liters) except Romani who takes 2 (20 liters).
Household earnings in this area can be approximately 400 LE per month.

System MN 8:

System MN 8, at the Association for the Protection of the Environment.
Date of Installation: February 2008
Period of Operation: 1 year and 1 month
This system is used by the women who make recycled paper. They normally spend 5 hours a day with their hands in tubs of cold water making the paper. In the winter months this is particularly painful. Now they can work comfortably. The only problem is that children living in nearby apartment blocks have twice thrown stones and smashed the glass. We are looking for solutions now.


System MN 9:

System MN 9, on the Muqattam "Kanisa Al-Idhra Maryam" Church roof.
Date of Installation: May 2008
Period of Operation: 10 months

Part of our goal is to work with the Coptic Church to contribute to their service helping people understand that God provides for His children. Consider the birds, consider the lilies of the field... (Matthew 6).


System MN 10:

System MN 10, Nabil William's System.
Date of Installation: June 2008
Period of operation: 10 months.

The glass on the right panel is broken and the float valve in the cold water tank failed after 9 months of operation.

System MN 10, T.H. Culhane demonstrates that the problem with this system was merely a broken Zahran float valve. Why did it break? It seems that because water is frequently cut in this community the cold water barrel will often become empty. This causes the float valve balloon, which is filled with sand, to hang downwards and the weight is too much for the plastic joint where the metal screw is. A possible solution for this community is to place some kind of float rest under the baloon's lowest point so it is free from stress when the tank is empty. This is yet another problem we face designing systems for communities with inadequate water service.


System MN 11:

System MN 11, Imad Tharwat's System;
Date of Installation: December 2008
Period of Operation: 4 months
Um Imad
, Hanna teaches this little boy how to clean the solar panels from dust to radically improve their performance.

System MN 11. This happy little boy now feels empowered to participate in his family's well-being.

System MN 11.


System MN 12:

MN 12, Samaan Shanuda (Baheet)'s system
Date of Installation: November 2008
Period of Operation: 5 months
Like Adham Fawzy's System (MN 4), this water heating installation serves as a goat shelter as well as a solar hot water system. The sun's heat is taken away by the panels and transferred to the insulated water tank, providing an extra cool shade spot for the animals.

MN 12. Even the family's ducks enjoy hanging out under the cooling shade of the solar panels.


System MN 13:

System MN 13, Sa'eed Shawky's system (foreground) and MN 12 (background).
Date of Installation: November 2008
Period of Operation: 5 months

Note that in the absence of a compass one can usually use the direction of the TV satellite dishes to determine the correct direction for the solar panel (facing due south or slightly SW).

This has to be the most dangerous installation Hanna has ever done.

System MN 13, at the edge of eternity.


System MN 14:

System MN 14, Mina Rashid's roof.
Date of Installation: May 2008
Period of Operation: 10 months

Milad demonstrates the solar hot water system that he helped innovate in his community.

System MN 14, rear view

System MN 14: Mina Rashid's roof.

System MN 15:

System MN 15: Walid's House next to the Zabaleen Recycling School
Date of Installation: September 2007
Period of Operation: 1 year 7 months
System MN 15 was actually the first system we built as an environmental technology training exercise with the students of the Zabaleen recycling school. We later connected it to the neihboring home of Walid, one of the teacher's in the school who had no running water. We ran cold water pipes to his house underground and then hot witer pipes from the roof of the school.

The placement of the cold and hot water tanks in the above pictures were an attempt to economize on materials costs by keeping the size of the stands small. We started with a steel tank but when the water kept cutting out the vacuum created eventually caused metal fatigue and leaks. We then decided to experiment using plastic tanks, which was a suggestion of Walid's. Walid said, "We Zabaleen make our living recycling plastic. Surely we can use plastic for our solar hot water systems?" He turned out to be correct. This led a to experiments of how to use the plastic shampoo barrels that a beggar child from the city of the dead found for us. We learned through painful trial and error that the hot water tank must always be at least one fist length above the top of the solar panels and the cold water tank should be fully above the hot water tank.

This system was the very first system we built and went through many iterations through trial and error before we hit upon a design that worked.

Walid and T.H. celebrate the joy of hot and cold running water at the turn of a tap!



Anonymous said...

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Richard Turner said...

Placing your DIY solar panels perfectly flat, facing straight up, is the best option.


Anonymous said...

The map above shows the relative locations of the systems. 15 are located in Darb Al Ahmar (left-top) and 15 in the Zabaleen community of Manshiyet Nasser (right-bottom). This map is oriented with the top as due north.
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