Microgrid Solar Systems Improve Rural Communities

image of solar microgrid

To bring electricity to regions that are inaccessible to centralized power, battery-based microgrid systems powered by solar, wind and hybrid renewable energy sources, are successfully providing reliable electricity where grid expansion is not an option.

While Africa is the world’s second-largest and second-most-populous continent, it is the most “electricity poor” region in the world. With its estimated population of 1.2 billion people, most of the people live in areas where connecting to a local power grid is impossible due to the extremely remote location of most villages. Here’s where a solar microgrid can help!

Established by E.ON Off-Grid Solutions GmbH, Rafiki Power, which means “friendly power” in Swahili, is establishing solar PV and battery-based microgrids in Africa for households, businesses and local law enforcement that previously had no access to electricity. The Rafiki Power system was installed in a container, locals dug the trenches for the distribution grid, and home and business were connected. Customers pay pay for access to electricity via their cell phones.


In addition, the container serves as a kiosk within which local entrepreneurs can set up shops.

The company recently installed Trojan Solar AGM batteries as the energy storage solution for a village microgrid in Ololosokwan, Tanzania. The total solar system capacity for the microgrid is 6 kW provided by 24 250W  panels.

The microgrid has increased the standard of living of the residents, expanded education, and enhanced overall economic development.

The implementation of the microgrid by Rafiki Power enabled Maasai Honey to access consistent electricity to power its business operations, such as lighting and computers. Future plans include integrating electricity with the honey processing operation to enhance and expand honey production.


Immeasurable Benefits

Not only do microgrids provide much needed access to electricity for households and schools, they also enable the communities like Ololosokwan to establish and expand business opportunities.

In addition, it allows for the monitoring of daily microgrid operations, including the performance and health of the Trojan batteries. The data gathered enables the Rafiki Power team to proactively address potential problems, such as preventing deep battery discharges and averting high operating temperatures, before they become serious issues. Collected data is also used for reporting on daily operations and providing information that can be used to continually improve the system design.

“Overall, the standard of living in the village has improved significantly now that customers can light their homes and businesses can power their operations,” said Hendrik Broering, Asset Operation & Engineering, E.ON Off Grid Solutions with Rafiki Power.

“The energy storage provided by Trojan batteries has expanded education and enhanced overall economic development.”

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