Solar charge controllers are an essential element to any solar electric panel system.


These charge controllers prevent batteries from being overcharged and prevent the batteries from discharging through the solar panel array at night.


Keep reading to find out how solar panel charge controllers are used.


What is a solar panel charge controller?


A solar charge controller is a solar-powered voltage and current regulator. They are used in off-grid and hybrid off-grid applications to regulate power input from PV arrays to deliver optimal power output to run electrical loads and charge batteries.


Uses of a solar panel charge controller


Solar panel controllers are essential for the devices’ voltage and opening the circuit.

It also stops the charging when the battery voltage ascends to a certain level.


The solar charge controllers can also control the reverse power flow. The charge controllers can distinguish when no power is originating from the solar panels and open the circuit separating the solar panels from the battery devices and halting the reverse current flow.


Types of solar panel charge controllers


• Simple 1 or 2 stage controls


• PWM (pulse width modulated)


• Maximum power point tracking (MPPT)


Simple 1 or 2 Controls


It has shunt transistors to control the voltage in one or two steps. This controller basically just shorts the solar panel when a certain voltage is arrived at.


PWM (Pulse Width Modulated)


This is the traditional type charge controller, and they are essentially the industry standard now.


Maximum power point tracking (MPPT)


The MPPT solar charge controller is the sparkling star of today’s solar systems. These controllers truly identify the best working voltage and amperage of the solar panel exhibit and match that with the electric cell bank.


How to use your solar power controller?


To connect your solar panel controller to your solar panel, follow the instructions below:

• Connect the battery to the charge controller


• Connect the battery to the charge controller FIRST. Then you connect the solar panel SECOND.


• Now connect the battery cables to the battery terminals.

• Connect negative first, then positive.
Your charge controller should turn on or light up.

• Connect the MC4 Solar Adapter Cables to the Solar Panel
This step takes all of 20 seconds to do. Locate the MC4 connectors at the ends of your solar panel’s cables.

• Connect the MC4 inline fuse and positive solar adapter cable to the positive solar panel cable. Connect the negative solar adapter cable to the negative solar cable.

• Connect the Solar Panel to the Charge Controller


Now, your battery is connected and your solar panel wires are ready to go. Now, the next thing to do is to connect your solar panel to your charge controller.


• To do this, connect the negative solar cable to the “-” solar terminal on the charge controller. Connect the positive solar cable to the “+” solar terminal.


Previously with the battery connection, the charge controller should light up or somehow indicate that the solar panel is properly connected.


When this happens, they’re all connected. Now it is ready for use.


Conclusion


Solar charge controllers are essential elements for solar panels.

It helps in preventing overcharge or undercharge.

The steps involved in connecting a solar panel controller to your solar panel includes:


• Connect the battery to the controller


• Connect the MC4 Solar adapter cables to the solar panel


• Connect the solar panel to the charge controller.


Solar panels come in different types. Each type with its unique set of advantages and maybe, disadvantages.

It is important to know the different types of solar panels because your choice will determine cost and amount of roof space your solar installation requires.


What is a solar panel?


Solar panels are used to collect solar energy from the sun and convert it into electricity.


A solar panel is composed of individual solar cells. Each solar cell is made from layers of silicon, boron and phosphorus.

The boron layer provides the positive charge, the phosphorus layer provides the negative charge, and the silicon wafer acts as the semiconductor.


When the sun’s photons strike the surface of the panel, it knocks out electrons from the silicon “sandwich” and into the electric field generated by the solar cells. This results in a directional current, which is then harnessed into usable power.


The entire process is called the photovoltaic effect, which is why solar panels are also known as photovoltaic panels or PV panels. A typical solar panel contains 60, 72 or 90 individual solar cells.


Types of solar panel


There are three main types of solar panels that are commercially available. They include:

• monocrystalline solar panels
• polycrystalline solar panels
• thin-film solar panels


Monocrystalline solar panels


Monocrystalline solar panels are the most popular solar panels used in rooftop solar panel installations today.


Monocrystalline solar panels have unique features considered better than the other two types of panels. They are as follows:


•The pyramid pattern of the cells offers a larger surface area to collect more energy from the sun’s rays.


• The cells are coated with silicon nitride to reduce reflection and thereby increase absorption.


• The produced electricity is collected through metal conductors printed onto the cells.


• It has higher efficiency of conversion of solar energy into electric energy than its two other counterparts.


• These panels have longevity up to 30 years.


• These panels exhibit greater heat resistance.


Applications


Because of their many advantages, monocrystalline solar panels can be used as follows:


• Can be used as solar rooftops in urban and rural areas.


• These panels are highly recommended for solar applications on a larger scale – on vast tracts of uncultivable land.


• These panels are also useful for residential and commercial applications.


• These panels are extremely useful in lighting up gardens.

• These panels can form an array and used to power rural homes.


• These panels are perfect for street lighting as stand-alone panels.


Polycrystalline solar panels


Polycrystalline solar panels are solar panels that consist of several crystals of silicon in a single PV cell.


Features of polycrystalline solar panels include:


• Polycrystalline solar panels have lower heat tolerance than monocrystalline panels. So, at higher temperatures, these solar panels have lower efficiency than others.


• Polycrystalline solar panels have a higher temperature coefficient than monocrystalline panels.


• These panels have a high power density.


• They come with a structural frame of their own which makes mounting cheaper and simpler.


Application of polycrystalline solar panels:


• They can be used in large solar farms.


• They are suitable for roof mounted arrays.


• They are used in self-powered devices such as traffic lights, and off-grid households.


Thin film solar panels


A thin-film solar panel is made up of one or more thin layers of photovoltaic materials that are laid onto a substrate.


Features of thin film solar panel:


• They are more flexible and light weight


• Installation is much easier than the others


• These solar panels are most suitable for applications with large rooftops or wide open spaces.


Application of thin film solar panels


• They can be used in solar farms


• They can be used to power traffic lights and street lights.


• They can be installed in large-sized steel water tanks to provide electricity for pumping water.


Conclusion


Solar panels come in three main different types: monocrystalline, polycrystalline and thin film solar panel.

Knowing the difference between each of them helps you in making the right choice during solar panel installations.

Is it possible for your solar panel to lose efficiency? It is very possible! You didn’t know? Now you do. There are certain factors that affect solar panels, and this results to a decline in efficiency.


Knowing these factors will help you do better with maintenance.

In this article, we’ll be looking at things that could affect your solar efficiency.


Keep reading to find out more.


What is a solar cell?


A solar cell or photovoltaic cell is a device that converts the sunlight into usable energy. The amount of sunlight that can be converted into electricity is referred to as solar cell efficiency.


What are the things that could affect your solar panel efficiency?


There are some factors that should be taken into consideration to guarantee the optimal efficiency of the solar panels.


The factors include:


• Sun


• Installation issues


• Weather


• Mounting position


• Poor maintenance


Sun


As we know, the solar panels work with the amount of sunlight and not heat from the sun.

The greater the amount of light incident on the panels, the higher the efficiency of the solar panels.


Installation Issues


Unfortunately, there are problems that are caused from the very start, caused by a less-than-stellar installation job.


It’s important to remember that solar panel installation is not a simple or easy job.

It’s not just a matter of installing panels onto the roof — because the solar system is a source of energy for the entire home, it has to connect with the electrical grid, and a careless installer might not implement these connections as well as they require.


Also, the condition of the roof is also a major factor.


Weather


Solar panels are designed to stand on top of your home all day, every single day, for decades.

For this reason, they’re engineered to hold up well against the elements, but that’s not to say they’re completely immune.


Sadly, the weather can indeed have an effect on your solar panels, and in extreme conditions, can even damage them.


Mounting position


Even if your solar panels are perfectly installed with zero issues in the connections or structural integrity, they might not work at optimal efficiency if they’re not oriented well.


We all know that solar panels absorb sunlight, so they should be positioned in such a way that they get as much exposure as possible at all times of the day.


Poor maintenance


Maintenance is key in prolonging the life span of a thing.
In a case where you don’t carry out periodic clean up on your solar panels, the presence of dust and dirt on the solar panels will drastically reduce their efficiency. Regular cleaning is recommended for all solar panels.


Conclusion


Solar panels can lose its efficiency. Some of the factors that can cause this includes: Poor maintenance, mounting position, weather, installation issues and the sun.

Solar panel systems can last for years even with limited maintenance checkups. However, a little knowledge on solar power maintenance can go a long way because regular checkups will save you costly repairs down the road, and keep your panels looking nice and shiny.

Solar panels are exceptionally easy to care for. They’re made out of tempered glass, which holds up well in tough conditions, and there aren’t any moving parts. It’s also not a bad idea to be well versed with each solar component in order to maintain your solar panel system.

Thinking about ways to maintain your solar panels?

We have listed three easy steps to on how to care for your solar panels below. Let’s go!

How To Maintain Your Solar Panels In 3 Easy Steps

1. Clean regularly

In places that experience regular rainy seasons, solar panels do not need to be cleaned too often. The occasional rain will take care of any dust, or snow (if experienced) will melt faster on the panels than it will on the rest of the roof.  

However, it’s a good idea every few months to glance at the panels and make sure there is no residual dirt, dust or leaves. If there is, a light rinsing off with a hose should take care of the problem.

It is not advisable to get on the roof to clean the panels. If there is a serious dirt buildup, consider investing in a long-handled broom or hose. If there’s a buildup of leaves, consider using a roof rake to take care of this problem.

Read Also: Why Is Solar Power Important?

2. Do a regular checkup with a solar monitoring device

Solar monitoring makes certain that your solar panels are working properly by tracking the power output of your system. With solar monitoring, you gain 24/7 peace of mind that your panels are working as efficiently as possible.

This helps you know when to carry out cleaning and general maintenance of the panel to increase efficiency.

3. Employ the services of a professional

Cleaning solar panels is an uncomplicated procedure that you can take care of just as well as a professional. If you have a small installation, it pays off to clean it on your own because the cost of professional cleaning would exceed the estimated energy gain associated with clean solar panels.

Also, you can also ask your solar installer to clean your panels while he is performing routine technical maintenance. He can execute this task in complete security.

Conclusion

Solar panels generally require very little maintenance in order to function. The only thing they need is a periodic light cleaning, routine checkups or employing a professional to do the work.  


The sun gives off far more energy than we need to power everything on earth everyday. It’s no news that solar energy is the key to a clean green energy future.

There are numerous advantages attached to investing in solar power. Research has shown that burning fossil fuels regularly is hazardous to human health.

Think about it! Everyday the fumes from generators,industries, etc., produce large quantities of carbon dioxide when burned. Carbon emissions trap heat in the atmosphere and lead to climate change.

In this blog post, we’ll be covering reasons why you should use solar power, incase you’re yet to.

Let’s dive in.

5 reasons you should consider using solar power

1. It is beneficial to the environment

The most commonly known fact about solar energy is that it represents a clean, green source of energy.

Solar power is a great way to reduce carbon in the environment. There’s nothing about solar power that causes pollution.

Solar power doesn’t release any greenhouse gasses, and uses no resources, except for needing a source of clean water to function. It is safe and environmentally-friendly. Yet, people are still in doubt why solar energy is good.

You should be among the 1% of the population contributing to a sustainable future. All you need to do is install solar panels on your roof and do away with burning of fossil fuels. Starting on your home is a great way to show you care about the environment.

Read Also: How To Buy Solar Energy In Nigeria | Specifications & Prices

2. The sun is a renewable energy

The sun provides us with more energy than we could ever use, and no one can monopolise the sunlight.

The solar resource is enormous. According to the US Department of Energy, the amount of sunlight that strikes the earth’s surface in an hour and a half is enough to handle the entire world’s energy consumption for a full year.

The sun can never get exhausted, and so does your power supply.

3. Saves you from utility bills

Home solar panels and a home battery can offer freedom from the utility companies with predictable electric bills. This helps you avoid peak electricity rates and provides reliable back-up power when the grid goes down.

Solar service agreements can offer low and predictable rates that are typically less expensive than your electric company’s rates, so you can expect, on average, to pay less for power when you go solar.

Electricity is more expensive during periods of peak demand and less expensive during low demand periods. With a rechargeable home solar and battery system, you can avoid the most expensive rates.

4. It is very accessible

You may continue to wonder why solar power. With the increasing need of solar energy, it’s become easily accessible to most of us. Across countries, there are vast land that are far away from big cities or capitals, and are not used for anything at all.

With solar power, we can actually make use of the land and subsequently generate great value; solar energy provides a source of power for everyone. In this way, we don’t need to use high priced land that might be better suited for other applications.

5. Uninterrupted power supply

Rooftop solar power is helpful in increasing electricity efficiency, considering the short distance. Your energy becomes domestic and as a result you’re in control of your own bills and energy usage.

Furthermore, solar power systems are durable, thus chances of service interruption are reduced.

Conclusion

Solar power has numerous advantages. You’ll be saving the environment by investing in solar energy, have uninterrupted access to electricity, and saved from heavy utility bills.

GVE Projects Ltd, Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc, United Capital Plc, Dantata Food & Allied Products Limited (DFAP), NPF Microfinance Bank Plc, and CAP Plc were all big winners in the Nigerian Investor Value Awards (NIVA Awards) which took place at Lagos Continental Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos on Saturday.

The NIVA Awards was organized by BusinessDay Media Limited, Nigeria’s foremost business and financial news provider in partnership with the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) to celebrate CEOs of public companies who have created sustainable alpha-generating value through strategic intelligence, operating efficiencies, market leadership, and organizational values. The NIVA replaces the annual Top 25 CEOs & Next Bulls Awards.

Left to Right: CFO, Daniel Wilbert & Head HR Corporate Services, Shalom Shebrah

GVE Projects Ltd was recognized in the Next Bulls Award category with the likes of Eunisell Limited, Dantata Food & Allied Products Limited, Revolution Plus Property, Ultimus Holdings, Zylus Group International, Fortune Global & Shipping Logistics Limited, Xpress Payment Solutions Limited, SpringRock Group, and TGI Distri Limited were the awardees.

Representing GVE Projects Ltd was our CFO (Daniel Wilbert) and Head HR & Corporate Services(Shalom Shebrah) received this prestigious award on behalf of the company. In appreciation of the award, he said:

“It was an honor to have been a recipient of the Nigeria Investors Value Award (NIVA) under the Next Bulls Award category. GVE’s pace-setting innovative culture, whilst creating remarkable value to all our stakeholders has been instrumental to the uniqueness of the company in the marketplace. We are grateful to BusinessDay and the Nigerian Stock Exchange, organizers of this prestigious award.”

GVE Projects Ltd wins Nigerian Value Investor Award
Left to Right: Head HR Corporate Services, Shalom Shebrah & CFO, Daniel Wilbert

The occasion was graced by renowned personalities such as Oba Alayeluwa Saheed Ademola Elegushi, Kusenla III, Dame Gladys Olajumoke Simplice, president & Chairman of Council, the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN), Ibukunoluwa Oyedeji, president of CFA Society Nigeria, and many other distinguished members of the business community.

This year’s edition of the award ceremony gave recognition to leaders of public and private companies that have demonstrated both governance and investor appeal to qualify for a public listing if the owners choose to do so within the next three years.

Awardees were selected by a proprietary survey carried out by the BusinessDay Research and Intelligence Unit (BRIU). Respondents included equity analysts, retail and institutional investors, financial journalists, sectoral experts, and professional advisers.

Representing BusinessDay, Frank Aigbogun, publisher, said that a lot was happening which raised the hopes on the outlook for the stock market.

In his words, he said that;

“When COVID-19 hit Nigeria, many had thought that it signaled the end of times. But here we are, still standing… There is no denying that it was a tough year. At the same time, what stood out was the resilience and improvisation capacity of Nigerian companies.”

Newly appointed Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Exchange Limited, Temi Popoola, in his opening remarks said the awards, a collaboration between the Exchange and BusinessDay, have in the past seven years “seen exceptional leaders gain much-deserved recognition in their contribution to economic growth in Nigeria”.

In conclusion, Mr. Popoola said that “these prestigious awards are testimonials of the quality of leadership in Nigeria” and this goes to show how great the GVE Projects Ltd leadership and management is.

Once again, a feather has been added to our hat, and only who the crown fits can wear it with such excellence.

A utility meter can have so many numbers that you get confused when you take a look at it. The next option would be to call someone that knows how to read a utility meter to help. Although this can work, you’re likely to encounter situations wherein you can’t find help and that would be bad.

Reading a utility meter bill is not rocket science. There are a few things you need to know that would help you execute this task perfectly. And that is what we will strongly discuss in this article.  However, before we get into that conversation, let’s identify a utility meter.

What is a Utility Meter?

According to Wikipedia, a utility meter is any of the following metering devices used on utility mains which include electricity, water, gas, heater, etc. A good utility meter will give you information regarding the healthiness and effectiveness of a product.

Today, there are a lot of smart utility meters that help you automate some processes. With these meters, you don’t need to keep a strong track on your expenses all the time.

Functions of a Utility Meter?

Utility meters function in diverse ways. However, they basically have central functions that occur between all of them.

According to PSC, utility meters measure the amount of electricity or gas that you use, the utility installs a meter between the incoming electric power or gas lines and the point of distribution at your house. The meter monitors your daily power or gas usage, and the utility will send out a meter reader to record your usage.

Types of Utility Meters

There are two types of utility meters which include

  • The Standard Electric Meter
  • The Gas Meter

The standard electric meter is a clock-like device that records the amount of electricity you use. When your home draws electricity from the power lines, a set of small gears inside the meter move. The number of revolutions gets recorded by the dials that you see when you look at your meter. The speed of the revolutions is determined by the amount of power that is consumed. 

On the other hand, a gas meter works by measuring the force of the moving gas in the pipeline. The dials turn faster as the flow of gas increases.

Further Reading: How To Buy Solar Energy in Nigeria | Specifications & Prices

How to Read a Utility Meter

When you want to read a utility meter, you have to first discover whether it is a digital meter or an analog one. The type of meter will determine the process involved in reading the meter.

How to Read an Analog Electric Meter

If you want to read an electric meter, there are four major steps you should follow.

Step 1

Understand the parts of your analog meter (also known as a dial meter) and how it works. Your meter usually has about four tosix dials that advance as a central disk turns. The disk is controlled by the electricity passing through the meter, giving a readout of how much electricity you are using.

This readout is given in kilowatt hours. One kilowatt hour is equal to the amount of energy it would take to power a 100-watt lightbulb for 10 hours. Most times, there’s a variety of words and numbers printed on the face of your electric meter. While these are not important in determining your electric usage, they do give you information about the mechanical details of your meter.

Step 2

Read the dials on your meter. Read them as though you were consulting an academic material. Begin on the left, writing the numbers down as you go. After you mark a number for each dial across, you have the electric meter reading.

Do not let the direction of the numbers on each dial confuse you. Some of the dials will be numbered clockwise and other dials may be numbered counterclockwise.

Look exactly where the arrow is pointing. If the arrow is positioned between 2 numbers, the reading is the smaller number. However, if the arrow is pointing directly on a number, verify what the number should be by referencing the dial to the right of it. If the arrow on that dial is past zero, the reading on the dial to the left is the number the arrow is pointing to. If the arrow on the right hand dial is not to or past the zero yet, the reading on the dial to the left is the previous number.

Step 3

Find out how your electric company read the last dial. Some companies round up to the next highest number while other companies record the number that the arrow is closest to. If you want to calculate your kilowatt hours on your own and you need calculation close to what the electric company does, it is beneficial to know how the company reads this last number.

Step 4

Calculate the kilowatt hours you have used. Most electric companies don’t reset the meter to zero after every reading. Hence, in order to calculate the number of kilowatt hours you have used, you need to keep track of consecutive readings. Subtract the current reading from the last reading you were billed for to get the most recent kilowatt hours used.

How To Read a Digital Electric Meter

To read a digital electric meter, you need to follow the right steps to ensure you get everything spot on. There are about three steps in this place for people who want to read this meter. They include:

Step 1

Understand the different parts of your meter. A digital electric meter records the amount of electricity your household is using electronically. Thus, a digital electric meter is much simpler to read than a traditional meter because it has fewer readings to decipher.

Unlike traditional analog electric meters, many digital meters transmit your meter reading wirelessly to the electric company via radio frequencies. This means that you will not have a meter reader come to your house to read your meter. If you prefer to keep your traditional meter, it may be possible in some municipalities to avoid having a new “smart” meter installed.

Step 2

Your meter should have a digital readout that gives you one long series of numbers. The exact configuration on this readout will vary depending on the manufacturer and the readout could include .

Do not let the direction of the numbers on each dial confuse you. Some dials will be numbered clockwise and they may number counterclockwise other dials.

Step 3

Calculate the kilowatt-hours you have used. Most electric companies don’t reset the meter to zero after every reading. Hence, in order to calculate the number of kilowatt-hours you have used, you need to keep track of consecutive readings. Subtract the current reading from the last reading you were billed for to get the most recent kilowatt-hours used.

Conclusion

Knowing how to read an electric meter bill is a handy skill as it helps you keep track of your electrical voltage capacity, which will help you budget properly when you need to renew it. Although many people use digital meters today, there’s still no harm in learning how to read an analog meter well.

Steady power supply remains an enormous problem in Nigeria and some parts of Africa. While generators have been the most dependable option for residents of these power-affected countries, others have sought ways that reduce pollution and enhance environmental health.

Solar Energy has become a fast-rising alternative to generators for many individuals. They offer a lot of advantages and have reduced running costs in comparison with their alternatives. If you don’t how to buy solar energy in Nigeria or you’re seeking for the best place to make a purchase, then you’re about to get the best deal you’ve ever seen from a solar energy company in Nigeria and Africa.

However, before we delve into the core aspect of this conversation, let’s talk a little about solar energy, it’s perks and what it offers better.

What is Solar Energy?

According to Wikipedia, Solar energy is radiant light and heat from the Sun that is harnessed using a range of ever-evolving technologies such as solar heating, photovoltaics, solar thermal energy, solar architecture, molten salt power plants and artificial photosynthesis.

It is a basic source of renewable energy, and its technologies are broadly characterized as either passive solar or active solar depending on how they capture and distribute solar energy or convert it into solar power. Active solar techniques include the use of photovoltaic systems, concentrated solar power, and solar water heating to harness the energy. Passive solar techniques include orienting a building to the Sun, selecting materials with favorable thermal mass or light-dispersing properties, and designing spaces that naturally circulate air.

A lot of organizations have voiced their contribution towards the importance of solar energy and how it can help build a greener environment. Companies like Green Village Electricity Group have started making huge contributions towards this goal by promoting the use of solar energy in Nigeria and across Africa.

How Does Solar Energy Work?

Solar energy can be used for many purposes as electricity is only one among so many other reasons. When you consider the vast possibilities that this resource can give, then you will pay more attention to how you can convert this resource to aid you with your daily living.

According to Infinite Energy, solar power works by converting light from the sun into electricity. This electricity can then be used in your home or exported to the grid when it’s not needed. This is done by installing solar panels on your roof which generate DC (Direct Current) electricity. This is then fed into a solar inverter which converts the DC electricity from your solar panels into AC (Alternating Current) electricity.

When you use solar power, you don’t need to keep an eye on the machine. It goes off and comes on at times that the solar energy feels it possess the capacity to sustain the electricity in the environment. With a good inverter, you can get to know the amount of energy you consume and this information will help your regulation.

Further Reading: All You Need to Know About Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Systems

How To Buy Solar Energy in Nigeria | Specifications & Prices

If you want to buy solar energy in Nigeria, taking the right steps will ensure you make a great choice. If you fail to follow these instructions I will outline below, you may end up dissatisfied with any choice you make. The process of buying solar energy in Nigeria comprises:

1. Determine How Much Solar Power You Need

You can determine your solar power by calculating the voltage power of every appliance in your home. An addition of all the numbers with some recess will give you the value of how much power you need. Generally, you cannot do this without knowledge of electrical systems, so you would need to consult specialists in that area.

2. Outline Your Budget

Immediately you’ve determined how much power you need, then you can set out a budget that will cater for your power needs. Most times, you might not afford to procure enough solar power, however, you can always follow the next step to take care of that problem.

3. Head over to Solar Packages on GVE Group Webpage

Once you run your numbers and you feel you can’t hit your target, you don’t need to give up. You only need to see the Solar Packages on GVE Group Webpage.

These packages offer you so much that you can find something that will cater for all your needs without burning a hole in your pocket.

4. Get a Quote

Immediately you visit the page and find the offer that suits you, you simply need to get a quote. By getting a quote, you get an opportunity to access personalized offers that will interest you. Furthermore, you can get access to the support team.

5. Make Your Purchase

It would all be an exercise in futility if you don’t make a purchase. Hence, you need to ensure you make that transfer or input that credit card. You need to see this as an investment into a solution for your power problems.

Conclusion

Constant electricity remains a problem in many African countries. However, GVE Group is changing the narrative by offering super and affordable solar panels, which are a great alternative to normal electricity. With these panels, you’re not dependent on any regulatory agency for power as you take complete control.

Electrification is popular in cities and modernized areas. Many localities lack electricity and even if they do, they aren’t sustainable. A lot of political leaders underestimate the importance of rural electrification, especially in Nigeria and other countries of Africa, and this neglect has cost these countries stunted growth.

According to All Africa, rural development through rural electrification can contribute to achieving most MDGs in Zambia. Similarly, making Zambia a middle-income country by 2030 isn’t easy. It needs identification of sectors that have greater multiplier effects; and allocating scarce resources to such sectors for a better tomorrow.

When countries like Zambia have identified the importance of this process, then it is a very important process. So, this article will strongly comment on rural electrification, it’s processes, and most importantly, the importance of rural electrification in Nigeria.

What is Rural Electrification?

Rural electrification simply means drawing electrical power to very local and remote areas. The neglect involved in this process has caused many communities their drive to be innovative and contribute actively to the overall progress of a nation.

The Electrification typically starts up in cities and towns and gradually inclines towards rural areas, however, this process often runs into obstacles in developing nations like Nigeria. Expanding the national grid is expensive and countries consistently lack the capital to grow their current infrastructure.

Furthermore, amortizing capital costs to plummet the unit cost of each hook-up is harder to do in lightly populated areas (yielding higher per capita share of the expense). If countries like Nigeria can overcome these obstacles and reach nationwide electrification, rural communities will reap considerable amounts of economic and social development.

How Does Rural Electrification Work?

Rural electrification doesn’t work in a pattern dissimilar from city electrification. However, because of the low population density, other options such as solar energy come in very handy instead of connecting so many grid lines.

With great solar powered connections, rural communities bear less costs on electricity bills, and don’t need constant help in maintaining their electricity lines. And this is very possible when they know how to buy solar energy in Nigeria or any other African nation suffering this same problem.

Many countries have faced the challenges of poor rural electrification problems and a good number of them have overcome, and are on track to overcome it. An example from Wikipedia would be:

Gram Oorja

Like many other microgrid companies, Gram Oorja has set out to provide electricity to the millions who lack access to power in rural India. Gram Oorja created a model based upon “corporate-social partnership” and gains funding from corporate charity funds.

Their first project was in Darewadi, a rural village with 39 households. Gram Oorja raised funding from Bosch Solar Energy and received consultation and guidance from the Shakti Foundation. They installed a solar power plant capable of producing 9.4 kilowatts of power with a backup biogas unit to produce energy when sunlight is not available. Local ownership of the project is one of the key tenets of Gram Oorja’s business model, so they encouraged participation in the set up and management of the mini-grid. A village trust collects bills every month and deposits the revenue into a corpus fund.

This hybrid model proved to be successful and has been implemented in over 10 villages. Gram Oorja currently has an installed capacity of 45.7 kW and serves 230 households. They have also partnered with Bank of America to continue to implement these projects across India.

The Importance of Rural Electrification in Nigeria

No country has experienced strong levels of development without giving huge importance to rural electrification. In a country like Nigeria still battling electricity problems, identifying and highlighting the importance of this system will cause the nation to start making important moves towards progress.

When considering the importance of rural electrification, let’s identify them in terms of:

Education

Education is the primary ingredient that boosts the mental and behavioral intelligence of a child. With access to quality electricity, children can easily study without fear of power failure, and using bright lights that help them preserve their vision unlike candles.

A lot of countries that have adopted rural electrification commented that the process has helped students study better and perform at the same level during their tests and examinations. Teachers have also benefited greatly as they can create more notes and teach for longer hours.

Increased Productivity

With efficient rural electrification, businesses can run for longer hours with reduced overhead costs. This way, they can employ more people which will in turn reduce employment rate and improve the national economy.

Additionally, farmers can leverage modern technological patterns of agriculture that are centered on electrical machines.

Job Creation

Efficient rural electrification will lead to a progressive community. With constant electricity, more factories will increase their manpower as they will seek to continually remain productive. With more people working, economic growth enters the fast track.

Healthcare Improvements

Most healthcare equipment is electrically powered. And most times, patients need equipment like the air conditioning to work optimally when they’re in a recovery stage. Sterilizers and refrigerators will work optimally and this will help the overall improvement of the health industry.

Conclusion

When you know the importance of rural electrification in Nigeria, you will seek to ensure your committee benefits greatly from a process that will improve their lives.

Green Village Electricity (GVE) Projects Limited is the foremost and most innovative renewable energy solutions provider in West Africa, registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission of Nigeria (RC1071222).

Our clients trust us as the most reliable renewable energy company delivering world-class service with a touch of unique local contexts because of the value we bring to the table.

Send us a message now to get a custom solar quote tailored to fit your needs. 

Have you heard about solar mini-grid systems and now you are wondering what are the basic components of a solar mini-grid system?

If this is you, then you are about to read in detail the basic technical components of a mini-grid system.

What are the Basic Technical Components of a Solar Mini-Grid?

A combination of three major systems makes up the basic technical components of a solar mini-grid. 

They are;

  1. Production System
  2. Distribution System 
  3. End-User System

These basic components of a solar mini-grid are not so different from that found in the conventional electricity production system.

For every solar mini-grid system you see out there, it is a combination of these three sub-systems. 

The solar mini-grid system begins with the production system component that has to do with the generation of electricity.

After generating electricity, there is a second component which is the distribution system that distributes electricity to the end-users.

At the end of the chain, we have the end-users. The end-user system provides connections that allow customers to use electricity in their homes and offices.

Let’s break it down in details.

1. Production System

It is important to pay attention to the production system when setting up the solar mini-grid system.

This is because the production system determines the mini grid’s overall capacity to provide electricity to end-users.

Whatever quantity of electricity the production system is able to produce, that is what the distribution system will transmit to the end-users.

The components of a solar mini-grid production system consist of the following

  • A set of energy generation technologies; for generating electricity through various means
  • Power inverters; for converting DC to AC and vice versa
  • A management system; for controlling the charging of batteries and distribution of electricity.
  • Batteries; for storage. 

components of solar mini-grid

Energy Generation Technologies

As part of the solar mini-grid energy generation technologies, we have the following:

  • Diesel generators
  • Hydropower systems
  • Solar photovoltaic (PV) modules
  • Wind turbines
  • Biomass-powered generators
  • Geothermal-powered generators

A mini-grid may use a single energy source or a mix of sources (hybrid) that are either renewable or nonrenewable.

For instance, an off-grid mini-grid system may use only solar photovoltaic (PV) modules to generate electricity.

Power Inverters

Some energy generation technologies produce direct current (DC) while others produce alternating current (AC).

For instance, a solar photovoltaic (PV) module generates DC, whereas nearly all mainstream appliances require AC.

The conversion is mostly dependent on the end user’s requirement.

Especially when end-users need a different type of electrical current than what the energy production technology generates.

Inverters in the electricity production system helps to convert electric current from DC to AC making it usable for most end-users.

Therefore, a solar-powered mini-grid serving several households would need an inverter as part of its production system.

Unlike the mainstream appliances which end-users use, charging of power storage batteries requires a DC power.

So, an inverter would convert electrical current from AC to DC if the current were coming from a grid-tied (utility) system or from a diesel generator.

In an AC-coupled configuration with storage (a battery), the energy generation and storage systems each have their own inverter.

These separate inverters connect to one another on the AC side of the system.

Operators can use the battery inverter to control charging and discharging.

In a DC-coupled PV configuration, the energy generation and energy storage systems share an inverter.

DC coupling tends to provide better performance.

This is because battery charging is more efficient when there are fewer power conversion steps.

storage battery house for solar mini grid system

Management System

Management systems form part of the basic components in a solar mini-grid – under the production system.

The management system measure, monitor and control electrical loads.

Let’s use the charge controller as an example.

To prevent the battery from charging and overcharging, connect a charge controller between the solar panel and the battery or inverter/charger.

Also, metering and monitoring equipment allow mini-grid managers to gather data about energy use across end-users, which informs operational decisions.

In order to optimize performance, management systems often couple computerized energy management tools with smart metering.

Some management systems allow operators to control the system remotely, including shedding loads as per requirement.

Storage

Some mini-grid production systems require energy storage units such as batteries to be able to supply electricity all the time.

This is true especially for solar and wind resources that only produce power when the renewable resources are available.

Because these renewable resources are not always available round the clock, they cannot produce electricity according to user demand.

For such a mini-grid system to be able to meet the power requirement of the end-users on-demand, it must store energy and supply it when resources are not available.

One awesome benefit of energy storage is that it adds stability to the system by storing energy for peak consumption.

Large mini-grid systems that run diesel generators continuously do not require batteries.

However, nearly all other mini-grid systems require some type of energy storage.

To optimize system performance, longevity and cost, project developers need to identify the most appropriate energy storage technology for their mini-grid.

Lead-acid batteries are the most common, but fuel cells and advanced battery technologies—like lithium-ion, nickel-metal hydride and sodium-ion batteries—are generally more efficient and last longer.

Interestingly, the costs for these new battery technologies continue to decrease as they become advance in technology.

Despite the need to store electricity for when there is a need for it, it is worthy to note that large battery banks pose serious safety hazards.

High concentrations of hydrogen gas can cause explosions, and leaks can cause electrolyte spills.

To curtail these hazards, installers should locate batteries in locations with good ventilation such as utility rooms or outbuildings.

Also, purchasing and operating a battery can sometimes cost more than operating a diesel generator continuously.

This may be the case when the operators are unlikely to maintain and use the battery correctly.

2. Distribution System

The distribution system is the second basic component of a solar mini-grid system.

After generating electricity in the production system, the distribution system transmits the electric power from the energy production system to end-users.

Distribution and/or transmission lines, transformers and the infrastructure to support the lines, such as poles are key components of a distribution system.

Lines can be overhead or underground. Overhead transmission is most common as it is comparatively cheaper and easy to connect to the end-user.

The distribution system uses a variety of voltages when transmitting electricity from the production system to the end-users.

It can be either be AC or DC, and either a single- or three-phase power supply.

AC voltage levels in a mini-grid network covering a large area can be changed by transformers.

To transmit electricity more efficiently over a distance, AC output voltage can be increased by step-up transformers.

On the other hand, step-down transformers decrease the voltage from high- or medium-voltage transmission lines to 120 V or 220 V for residential use.

Distribution network costs and system losses in AC mini-grids can be minimized by transformers.

Distributing electricity at medium voltage allows systems to use smaller conductors, minimizing cable costs.

A higher voltage causes greater safety risks for operators and users. Therefore, special training is required for operators. 

There are various efficiencies in various components. Therefore, the determining of voltage, current and transformers impact energy losses.

The cost setting up the distribution system usually dictates which option project developers choose.

DC is generally less expensive than AC because AC requires power conditioning equipment.

The availability of appliances for different currents is also consideration developers must take note of.

End-user system component of mini-grid systems

End-user System

The end-user systems provide an interface for electricity consumers to access, use and monitor electricity from the mini-grid.

It takes into account consumers’ needs and energy uses to determine the type of system that will be fit for the connection.

For example, a business that uses large machinery for production purposes will need a different system than households that use electricity for lighting and small appliances.

The end-user system consists of three basic components;

  • Connections to and from the mini-grid
  • Systems to prevent electrical shocks and harm to both equipment and users
  • Power consumption metering.

Benefits of an end-user system component in solar mini-grid systems

The end-user system has some important uses and benefits to both the consumers and the operators.

  • End-user systems provide information to consumers, that allow them to monitor their energy consumption, estimate the cost of their consumption and understand the current status of the system.
  • They also provide useful data back to the system operator, reporting on consumption rate and timing, like when and how much energy is used.
  • These data provide valuable feedback to system operators, which enables them to estimate and predict demand and consumption patterns.
  • The data also allows regulators to establish tariffs that balance the needs of the operator and the consumer. While ensuring differing use cases are priced fairly and competitively.
  • Finally, the end-user system provides important electrical bond and grounding mechanisms. This helps to ensure the safety of its users and protect valuable and expensive equipment.

Power consumption metering

Mini-grid enterprises rely on frequent, small payments from their customers for the use of electricity.

This makes metering, billing and collection time-consuming and expensive too.

Innovative metering and payment systems automate these otherwise complex tasks.

Individual meters (one per end-user) provide the greatest degree of control over energy use.

Meters can be pre- or post-paid; pre-paid meters typically are called pay-as-you-go (PAYG) metering.

Newer generation meters are typically considered “smart meters.”

Although older, traditional meters are still in use, both have advantages and disadvantages.

Green Village Electricity Mini-Grid Installation

Having read to this point, we believe you now understand the various components of a solar mini-grid system.

The basic components of a solar mini-grid system consist of the production system, distribution system and end-user system.

Each of these components has sub-systems via which electricity is produced, distributed and used by end-users.

GVE Projects Ltd has a track record of setting up efficient mini-grids in Nigeria.

It is part of our services to bridge the electricity gap in Nigeria by designing and installing solar mini-grids, home solar installations etc.

You can read about some of the solar mini-grids we designed and installed in Nigeria.

If you are up for a partnership or you wish to provide electricity to an area as part of your company’s CSR activity, you can send an email to info@gve-group.com.

We are always ready to deploy our solar mini-grid system to meet the electricity need of people.

Call +234 909 2227 483 to communicate with one of our representatives immediately for more inquiry.

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