VIA Technologies, Inc, a leading innovator and developer of silicon chip technologies and PC platform solutions, today announced the first ever solar-powered cyber community centre in the South Pacific. Developed with the Samoan ICT Secretariat, the centre is a proof of concept implementation of VIA Solar Computing, a key element of the VIA Clean Computing Initiative to drive environment-conscious computing.
VIA Solar Computing is focusing on photovoltaic (PV) solar power to take advantage of the numerous benefits for both emerging market and urban computing installations:
1. Solar power is a clean, non-polluting energy
2. Solar panels are silent in operation; ideal for classroom, kiosk, shops or evening operations where a noisy generator would be disturbing
3. Solar power is virtually free energy once the capital cost has been covered
4. Solar panels do not require refueling; they are self-sufficient
5. Solar panels are highly reliable and virtually maintenance free, some requiring only annual changes of water in deep-cycle batteries, and usually come with an average warranty of 20 years due to the absence of moving parts
The economics of solar power are becoming increasingly attractive, and especially for emerging market applications; worldwide production of solar cells has increased rapidly over the last few years, and these economies of scale, combined with the development of more efficient photovoltaic technologies, has reduced the average retail cost of a solar panel from US$27 to US$4 per watt between 1982 and 2005. And as R&D, production and popularity continue to expand, costs will continue to decline. At the same time, governments are starting to recognize the benefits of solar power, with many now offering tax and rebate incentives to promote this clean energy.
Showcase Application: Samoa VIA pc-1 Information Community Center
Solar power is a natural candidate for supplying efficient, cost effective and sustainable power to emerging markets, which in turn enables ICT access in rural and remote communities with little or no electricity infrastructure. This objective is shared by the VIA pc-1 Initiative, which is aimed at enabling the next one billion users, mainly in emerging markets. As a result, the first solar deployment was to establish an energy self-sufficient VIA pc-1 IT center for the South Pacific, a region largely overlooked by global ICT deployment initiatives.
Opened in August 2006, the VIA pc-1 Information Community Center is the first to be completely powered by solar photovoltaic technology in the South Pacific, and has brought global connectivity to the multiple communities in the remote town of Ulutogia. For more information about the VIA pc-1 Information Community Center in Samoa, and to download the white papers, please click here.
VIA pc-1 Information Community Center Configuration
The complete solar system at the Center provides the power for three VIA Power-Saving PCs featuring the VIA pc1500 platform, complete with 40 GB HDDs, DVD ROMs, 15 inch LCD monitors, keyboards, mice and modems, networked to a VIA pc-1 server powered by the VIA pc2500 platform and featuring a 120GB HDD and peripherals, as well as an external fax/scanner/copier/printer. All of this equipment is powered solely by a dual 175-watt photovoltaic solar panel solution from partner Motech.
A VIA white paper on VIA Solar Computing and the VIA pc-1 Information Community Center in Samoa is available for download here.
More information on the solar technologies employed at the VIA pc-1 Information Community Center is available in the white paper provided by Bear Systems International Ltd. here.