PCC Volunteer’s Solar Generator Salvages WordPress Workshop during Island-Wide Outage


Al Henry, Jr. completes the setup of his solar generator so that we can start the WordPress Workshop at City Seventh Day Adventist Church

The Virgin Islands Next Generation Network, Inc. (viNGN) was invited by the City Seventh Day Adventist Church to present the workshop “Getting Online with WordPress” on Sunday, February 11, 2018. WordPress is considered the world’s most popular way to build modern and stylish web sites and blogs without any coding or programming knowledge, and may be used for free or professionally. While the topic at hand was intriguing enough, the true star of the seminar had to be the silent, solar-powered generator built by Al Henry, Jr. that allowed the show to go on despite an island-wide power outage.

We could have still held the session, thanks to hard copies of important materials, but the full multi-media experience was the plan. City Seventh-Day Adventist Church Audio-Visual Specialist as well as the technical support for the viNGN Public Computer Center on site, Mr. Henry ensured that we could show our slide presentation and have access to our video and online sites for visual walk-throughs. “This is the fifth one I’ve built,” he said. “I scavenged UPS batteries after the storms, and put them together – the generators are ‘adopted’ by other people as I make them,” he smiled as he hooked our projector and mini-speaker to an extension cord that he had run from the case containing his generator. The connected solar panel, once exposed to sunlight, provided energy to conduct the meeting, ensuring its complete success.

Solar generators are now being sold on island, and as Tesla Powerwalls continue to make the news, Al Henry, Jr. prides himself on being able to build his own cost-efficient units and is always thinking of ways to design them to be lighter without sacrificing power generation. He is part of a significant trend of innovation that has come about over the past several years, that is just coming to the fore in the wake of recent disasters. The U.S. Virgin Islands are home to many technology and engineering experts and several provide assistance at a number of free Public Computer Centers that viNGN implemented on St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas.

The Public Computer Centers were equipped through federal grants, which were closed out in 2015. viNGN continues to provide as much support as possible, and we appreciate individuals like Mr. Henry and all Public Computer Center organizational staff and volunteers. In the absence of funding, their dedication to the public helps with job searches, distance learning, access to personal services and accounts, and locating free online training resources.

PCC volunteers are always needed, and requires only a few hours per week. Contact Anita Davis viNGN by calling (340) 715-8581 x2224 or email adavis@vingn.com for more information about how you can Inspire @ your PCC!

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