VIA opens solar-powered community center

By Justin Mann on October 4, 2006, 3:36 PM
Anyone who enjoys MiniITX or is a desktop enthusiast will be familiar with VIA., with their chipsets and other hardware have a huge presence in the desktop market. In a press release issued today, they announced the opening of a community center that will provide computing and Internet access to rural communities in the South Pacific. The most interesting note about this facility is that it is completely solar powered, drastically reducing the cost of operations for such a project.

The center, located in Samoa, is populated by low-power VIA desktops and a server, along with standard office equipment. All of it is able to be powered by two solar panels. VIA has a lot of experience in low power computing, and in fact is what they are most popular for in the enthusiast community, so it makes a lot of business sense for them to demonstrate the effectiveness and practicality where low power demands are much more important than high performance demands. You can read the full press release in the comments section below, and you can get more information on the center itself at Via's website.

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Soul Harvester said:
VIA Solar Computing harnesses the power of the sun to provide people in rural and remote communities reliable, clean computing and Internet access Taipei, Taiwan, 4 October 2006 – 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. The South Pacific has been largely ignored by global ICT deployment initiatives, and is only now taking the steps needed to build the infrastructure to raise the region’s e-readiness. The remote Samoan village of Ulutogia, Aleipata District was selected for its multiple local user communities and, like most of the South Pacific, its abundance of sunshine, making solar the logical source of power. Accessible to all, the VIA pc-1 Information Community Centre in Samoa will help address issues of e-Education, e-Health and e-Governance for local residents, and provide business opportunities for the recipient and surrounding communities, as well as offer Internet access to tourists. Following its successful launch, it is set to act as a working template for similar IT centers around the world to help bridge the digital divide, especially in rural and remote locations, and VIA is working with major international organizations and governments to facilitate further such deployments. “We were delighted to collaborate with VIA on the Center, which provides a practical computing solution for remote areas of Samoa and beyond,” said Gisa Fuatai Purcell, Samoan ICT Secretariat Manager. “VIA has the capacity and committed staff to provide solar powered computers, a big step towards reducing poverty.” Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Soliai Sailele Malielegaoi echoed the sentiment, saying that: “For our next ten infocenters, I want the VIA solar powered computers, monitors, etc. I want anything solar as we have so much sun here in Samoa.” “The Samoa solar-powered center is the perfect example of what is possible when combining responsible technologies and energy supplies,” said Richard Brown, Vice President of Marketing, VIA Technologies, Inc. “As the clear leader in power efficient computing, VIA can help others work towards fostering sustainable approaches to growth and empowerment in remote and urban areas alike, and our VIA Solar Computing is another important step towards making this happen.” The VIA pc-1 Information Community Centre in Samoa involved the installation of three VIA pc-1 Power Saving PCs and a VIA pc-1 server, plus an external fax/scanner/copier/printer, all powered by a complete dual 175-watt photovoltaic solar panel solution from leading solar supplier, Motech Industries. Through this implementation, the center addressed the largest obstacles facing ICT access in the developing world: the design of appropriate technologies; reliable power supplies; Internet access; sustainability through proper training and business opportunities; and closing the gap that exists between the different sectors working towards solving the digital divide dilemma, specifically private, public, civil society, academic and international organization.
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