Violent storm breaks down the installed solar panel system in Burma

A month after solar system was installed at a remote school in Karen state, a violent storm created havoc for the villagers by “blowing the roof” off and damaging the solar system

Solbakken completed a solar power installation for the Kah Lah Hay School in May of 2015. The school is located in eastern Karen State in Burma and is attended by 198 students. Many of these students come from far away villages and spend the entire school year living in the school’s dormitories. 

The head master, students and local villagers were very proud and excited about having power that could be used to further student’s education and provide a safe living environment. Everyone was in high spirits and excited for nightfall so that the system could be used. After we completed the installation, we packed our equipment, said goodbye, and started our journey back to the small town where our office is located. We did not plan to come back until our routine maintenance check three months later. 

However, less than a month after the installation, we received a call from the Kah Lah Hay headmaster who was noticeably sad and apologetic. This was unusual as he is normally a very upbeat, jovial, and positive man. He explained that there had been a violent storm with high winds and rain.  It was so strong it literally blew the roof off the school and dormitories off. The students had to flee the dormitories and seek shelter elsewhere until the storm subsided. Luckily there were no injuries.

The headmaster explained sadly that power was no longer coming and he feared that the whole system was broken.  We explained that this was not his fault, these things happen, and we would be there next week to assess and repair the damage. One point that Solbakken puts a lot of focus on is building and developing relationships with our project communities. A project is never completely “finished” as we do routine maintenance checks, additional trainings, and are always available to repair damaged systems from unforeseen events.  This ensures the longevity of systems and reinforces are positive relationship with communities.

Upon visiting the Kah Lah Hay School, we checked all the components, replaced some of the wiring and lights, and got power back to the school and dormitories. Now everything is working great, the students are studying at night, and the headmaster is back to his happy cheerful self.