Aleutia's mission has always been to distribute computers to as many families and businesses as possible in emerging economies and particularly in Africa. Getting useful computers into rural schools, and especially secondary schools, is the real key here because that's where we see the most impact. The barriers are three fold: upfront cost, electricity access (ongoing cost), and reliability.
The industry worship of Moore's Law means we can't do much on cost because the silicon remains expensive (see above post) but we've built up a lot of expertise on passively cooling PCs which means we can produce a really reliable fanless PC at a reasonable price point. And we can get rid of hard drives by using SSDs (still expensive) or, in a classroom, by going diskless and keeping everything on a fanless DRBL server (we run all the Ubuntu sessions off an SSD).
Our T1 has been used in schools all over the world with some particular challenges from the Amazon jungle in Ecuador (humidity, lots of insects that try to get into the PC) to Afghanistan (heat, and zero access to spare parts).
Frequently we ship our T1s and monitors out and rely on a local company to put together the solar side of things but this tends to push up costs and is contingent on a good local supplier being present. In response we've put together a solution that will initially roll out in Nigeria.
It's completely solid state and the whole classroom consumes just 15 Amps or 180 Watts. It's compact enough so that we can ship it anywhere in the world with DHL and comes with everything you need to run 7 PCs and server indefinitely - all you have to do is add batteries. (Deep cycle lead acid batteries are a hazardous material and can't be shipped by air - we can always advise which ones to buy).
The explanation is below and we'll be providing updates (and videos) soon. Should be available to order on the site starting in December.
Timor-Leste became the 62nd country we've sent our fanless computers to yesterday, when we shipped out a computing station kit of a 12V dual core Aleutia T2 computer and 12V monitor and all the solar kit to run it. This will be operating in a remote area for a Microfinance institute in Australia so it was essential that a) there's enough solar capacity to run indefinitely and b) that it be compact to keep FedEx shipping costs low. And it had to be easy to set up. Solar isn't absurdly complicated (even I've figured it out) but in remote areas it needs to be done right, otherwise you can blow a fuse in the solar panel (or in the DC plugs for the T2 and monitor).
We had a pair of weatherproof 20 Watt Monocrystalline panels joined by piano hinges with a a 5 meter weatherproof cable that terminates in a unique plastic male clip.
We use a Morningstar charge controller - this lets you charge the battery at the same time as you are using the PC - with 3 areas to connect cables: Solar (connect the panels here), Battery (connect the + and - battery leads here) and Lightbulb (connect whatever you want here - in this case a T2 and monitor).
And the brown (+) and blue (-) cables coming off the middle (battery icon) are again pre-wired to connect to the battery (for demonstration purposes at the office, just a 7 Amp hour deep cycle leisure battery):
Every solar solution we sell is fully tested in London (we are currently setting up an office unit as a dedicated solar lab) and we're going to start YouTube'ing most of them. That way you know exactly how the solution you bought works.
The solar kit is available from our site: http://www.aleutia.com/products/solar