Saturday, July 09, 2016

Factoid of the day: Boko Haram is green

:StrategyPage has an article about the decline of the murderous Bokoharam group and about Nigerian corruption.

But their summary includes this factoid:

Some of the aerial photos get published and show that what remains of Boko Haram is adapting. The camps are often laid out to be difficult to spot from the air.
What often gives these camps away is the use of solar panels, which Boko Haram needs to power their phones, night lighters and other electronics.
italics mine.

 the Chinese are selling solar panels in Nigeria (and lots more stuff: The presence of Chinese goods in Africa is another undercovered story).

and the greens were ecstatic at using politically correct energy sources in poor countries.

 but the dirty little secret is that this is not successful in the long run.  and what is that part about "fake"?

Emma Onyejeose, the coordinator of Nigeria’s annual Alternative Energy Expo, says that a recent influx of fake solar panels from China to Ghana was one example where a lack of government control led to people having bad experiences with solar power. “Governments in Africa are still finding it difficult to officially adopt the technology, and this has greatly affected its uptake,” she says.

We find similar quality control problems with the Chinese imports here, so most people with money (i.e. the growing middle class) buy American, or at least Korean or Japanese.

This has been found in Nigeria's solar panel outreach too.

since Nigeria for now doesn't manufacture Solar panels, you'd find that most Solar panels in the market are normally imported and these come from countries like the USA and China. It's actually cheaper for Nigerians to buy Solar panels from China than from the USA however it seems most USA made Solar panels are mostly of higher quality than the ones you can get from China.

as for solar panels: there are other problems.

this discussion includes someone naively pointing out that many street lights in the western world are powered with small solar panels. One comment even noted that this is true in Nigeria. I laughed. I figure i in the Philippines, they'd be stolen and resold in a week.

Few locals are trained to fix the solar panels when they break down. In contrast, generators use small engines, similar to motorcycles or cars, (which are all over the place) so locals know how to fix them.

Two problems stand in the way of the US recovery of manufacturing: Lack of people trained to work with their hands due to an emphasis on college.

Luckily, the Mexicans will figure this out and get the jobs.

Two: the high incidence of drug use in the working class in the USA.  The long half life means the neuropsychiatric effects last longer than alcohol, leading to increased errors etc.

but this is also a taboo subject when people talk about legalizing pot.

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