Project undertaken in course year 2022-23 with Mawa Modular

Project Goal

Enhance modular housing for refugees in Jordan, developing modular energy systems for each housing unit. Specifically, to develop an off-grid system that will provide as much energy as possible for less than $1000, providing supplementary power to what the shelters already receive from the grid.

Project Motivation

There are over 6.8 million Syrian refugees in Jordan, having been displaced from their homes due to the Syrian civil war.  The average time living in these refugee camps is now over 17 years, yet the families live in tents that function for 6 mos to 5 years. 

A critical problem these people face is reduced energy availability during unpredictable spikes in energy supply and demand.  On average energy is available for nine hours per day.  A modular energy system for each housing unit would reduced reliance on the centralized energy plant, and provide independence during power outages. 


Mawa Modular is an organization looking to develop modular housing for these refugee camps with longer life spans that provide stability and dignity for the residents.  

Solar power has been very effective in Jordan due to its hot and sunny climate.  The existing power grid in the refugee camps is provided by a solar power plant, that is able to provide 80% of the energy needs.  

Housing in a typical refugee camp in Jordan

High Priority Requirements

Ethical Considerations


We developed a solution consisting of a single 200W solar panel, mounting system to hold the panel at 27 degrees, a lead-acid battery, charge controller and micro-inverter

Full system

Schematic showing the full system design, along with associated costs of the components.


Bracket to hold the 200W panels.  It is large enough to hold 4 such panels, providing adequate space for expansion if needed.  It is designed to hold the panels at a 27-degree angle (13 degrees from the roof, which is at 14 degrees)

Electrical overview

DC Coupling mechanism.  In this system design, the inverter receives DC power, converts to AC, and transmits that into home appliances while any excess energy is returned to the grid. 

Deflection on bracket holding weight of panels

WHen loaded with the weight of the panels, max deflection was seen at 0.06 mm

Pressure on bracket due to wind loads

Wind loads were input into COMSOL, and a maximum pressure was determined to be 165 Pa. This created a max load of 235 N. 

Bracket leg deflection

With the max load determined, the max deflection of the individual legs were determined to be 0.115mm

Testing of bracket leg

The red arrow points to the bracket under test, and the white arrow points to the weights applied. Deflection of the leg was measured

Horizontal leg deflection test results

The leg saw displacement up to 0.20 inches (5mm) when tested up to 18 kg (176N). This was more than predicted with FEA, though we observed that the clamps holding the bracket may have moved slightly during the test.  

Other work conducted

Student team

Jordan Trip

Future Work