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.

Plateau State, Nigeria – On December 3, 2020, the Federal Government of Nigeria, through its Implementing Agency – Rural Electrification Agency (REA), commissioned a 234KW solar hybrid mini grid power plant in Shimankar Community, Shendam Local Government Area. The project, which is one of the many solar mini projects to be commissioned under the Nigeria Electrification Project (NEP), will provide clean, safe, affordable and reliable electricity for the community members.

The REA Managing Director/CEO, Ahmad Salihijo Ahmad, emphasized the Federal Government’s commitment to meeting its developmental goals by providing electricity access for all. Reiterating REA’s role, she stated that “as an agency, we are responsible for powering unserved and under served communities, therefore, it is fulfilling every time homes, businesses, schools and medical centres are connected to sustainable solar power. Almost immediately, we are able to witness rural communities being transformed with clean energy through the jobs that are created during construction, to their micro and small businesses scaling to larger capacity thanks to reliable electricity.”

His Royal Highness Miskoom Maurice Danjuma Manu III, expressed gratitude to the Federal Government and the private sector developer for providing electricity to their community. “Our businesses are now fully operational; especially at night. Our businesses are growing; we can buy and enjoy cold beverages in the provision shops. Today is indeed the beginning of better things to come for Shimankar.”

GVE Projects Limited Chief Executive Officer, Ifeanyi Orajaka, shared that the installed mini grid comprising a total of 234kw of Solar PV, 236kWh of Lithium Battery Storage and 100KVA of Diesel Backup generator, will adequately energize the community. He also mentioned that the solar hybrid mini grid in Shimankar aims to provide reliable electricity to One thousand Nine hundred and Seventy Two (1,972) Households, Two hundred and Seventy three (273) Commercial Users, Five (5) Productive Users and Nineteen (19) Public Users in the community to improve the socioeconomic life of the community. “It is a thing of pride that GVE, an indigenous Nigerian firm, can be a part of developing Nigeria’s rural areas. Thanks to this project, Nigerian solar developers, like myself, can access these investment opportunities and participate in growing Nigeria’s evolving off-grid sector.”

Shimankar Community now joins the many communities across Nigeria experiencing social and economic progress thanks to the solar mini grids project under the Nigeria Electrification Project (NEP).

“We are very proud to have financed this project that enables GVE to bring clean, reliable energy to Shimankar, in line with our mission to increase off grid energy access in Nigeria,” said All On CEO, Wiebe Boer. “This will create thousands of new electricity connections, and we expect to see measurable productivity growth and economic benefits for the community in the near future.”

ABOUT GVE

Green Village Electricity (GVE) Projects Limited is Nigeria’s leading PV solar mini-grid solutions provider. GVE’s business footprint covers the design, sales, installation and maintenance of renewable energy solutions for residential, commercial, industrial and rural off-grid or under-served communities through commercially sustainable business models in line with our clients’ needs.

ABOUT SHIMANKAR COMMUNITY

Shimankar is an agrarian settlement on the banks of River Shimankar in Plateau State, which drains into River Benue at Ibi town in Taraba State. It is the 4th largest community in Shendam Local Government Area with the traditional rulership residing in Miskoom Maurice Manu Danjuma III.

ABOUT ALL ON

All On, an independent impact investing company, was seeded with funding from Shell, and works with partners to increase access to commercial energy products and services for unserved and underserved off-grid energy markets in Nigeria, with a special focus on the Niger Delta. All On invests in off-grid energy solutions spanning solar, wind, hydro, biomass and gas technologies deployed by both foreign and local access-to-energy companies that complement available grid power across Nigeria and help bridge its significant energy gap.

Energy is a major requirement for technological growth and other visible development.

But, a major concern is that most civilizations depend solely on fossil fuels for nearly every aspect of their existence.

The use of fossil fuels is known to negatively impact the environment, polluting the air and causing climate change.

As a result, many people are in favour of using renewable energy sources to meet man’s everyday energy needs.

Why do we need renewable energy sources?

Every day, we need electricity to power our computers, TVs, home theatres, phones and other electronic gadgets.

We also need some form of energy to power our vehicles and cook our foods.

If we continue to depend only on fossil fuels as our energy source, we may encounter problems in the future.

Fossil fuels are going to either become exhausted in nature or they will become too expensive to realistically use.

We can’t tell for sure what’s left of this resource, but the fact remains that it is a finite resource. 

In addition, alternative energy resources have a much lighter environmental impact than fossil fuels.

This is why renewable energy sources are our ticket to a less polluted world. 

Even if we did not face the threat of climate change, minimizing pollution is basic for good health.            

Green and Clean: Renewable Energy Sources

Five types of alternative energy are generated by harnessing a natural process, like sunlight or waves. They are generally the most sustainable forms of energy.

Solar Energy

Sunlight is a renewable resource, and its most direct use is achieved by capturing the sun’s energy. 

A variety of solar energy technologies are used to convert the sun’s energy and light into heat.

This heat produces illumination, hot water, electricity and (paradoxically) cooling systems for businesses and industry.

Photovoltaic (PV) systems use solar cells to convert sunlight into electricity. Solar hot water systems can be used to heat buildings by circulating water through flat-plate solar collectors. 

Mirrored dishes that are focused to boil water in a conventional steam generator can produce electricity by concentrating the sun’s heat. 

Commercial and industrial buildings can also leverage the sun’s energy for larger-scale needs such as ventilation, heating and cooling. 

Finally, thoughtful architectural designs can passively take advantage of the sun as a source of light for heating and cooling.

Homeowners, businesses and government entities can take advantage of the benefits of solar power in many ways: 

  1. Install a home solar system or commercial solar panels; construct or retrofit a building to incorporate solar hot water, cooling or ventilation systems; 
  2. Design from scratch structures that take advantage of the sun’s natural attributes for passive heating and lighting.

Learn more about GVE Projects in Bisanti where we used solar energy to power an entire village in Bisanti, Niger State.

Capturing the Wind

Wind can be considered a form of solar energy because it results from the uneven heating and cooling of the atmosphere (as well as the rotation of the earth and other topographical factors). 

Wind flow can be captured by wind turbines and converted into electricity. 

On a smaller scale, windmills are still used today to pump water on farms.

Commercial grade wind-powered generating systems are available to meet the renewable energy needs of many organizations.

Single-wind turbines can generate electricity to supplement an existing electrical supply. 

When the wind blows, the power generated by the system goes to offset the need for utility-supplied electricity.

Utility-scale wind farms generate electricity that can be purchased on the wholesale power market, either contractually or through a competitive bid process.

Geothermal: Power from the Earth

Geothermal energy is derived from the heat of the earth. This heat can be sourced close to the surface or from heated rock and reservoirs of hot water miles beneath our feet.

Geothermal power plants harness these heat sources to generate electricity.

On a much smaller scale, a geothermal heat pump system can leverage the constant temperature of the ground found just 10 feet under the surface to help supply heat to a nearby building in the winter or to help cool it in the summer.

Geothermal energy can be part of a commercial utility energy solution on a large scale or can be part of a sustainable practice on a local level. 

Direct use of geothermal energy may include heating office buildings or manufacturing plants; helping to grow greenhouse plants; heating water at fish farms; and aiding with various industrial processes (e.g., pasteurizing milk).

From Waterwheels to Hydroelectricity

Hydropower isn’t a new invention, though the waterwheels once used to operate the gristmills and sawmills of early America are now largely functioning as historic sites and museums.

Today, the kinetic energy of flowing rivers is captured in a much different way and converted into hydroelectricity. 

Probably the most familiar type of hydroelectric power is generated by a system where dams are constructed to store water in a reservoir which, when released, flows through turbines to produce electricity.

This is known as “pumped-storage hydropower,” where water is cycled between lower and upper reservoirs to control electricity generation between times of low and peak demand.

Another type, called “run-of-river hydropower,” funnels a portion of river flow through a channel and does not require a dam. 

Hydropower plants can range in size from massive projects such as Hoover Dam to micro-hydroelectric power systems.

Direct use of hydroelectric power is naturally dependent on geographic location. 

Assuming a dependable waterway source is accessible and available, micro-hydroelectric plants can be constructed to supply electricity to farm and ranch operations or small municipalities.

Small towns can harness the energy of local waterways by building moderately sized hydroelectric power systems.

Power from the Ocean

There are two types of energy that can be produced by the ocean: thermal energy from the sun’s heat and mechanical energy from the motion of tides and waves.

Ocean thermal energy can be converted into electricity using a few different systems that rely on warm surface water temperatures. 

“Ocean mechanical energy” harnesses the ebbs and flows of tides caused by the rotation of the earth and the gravitational influence of the moon. 

Energy from wind-driven waves can also be converted and used to help reduce one’s electricity costs.

There are also lesser developed technologies that leverage ocean currents, ocean winds and salinity gradients as sources of power conversion.  

Cold ocean water from deep below the surface can be used to cool buildings.

After cooling, desalinated water is often produced as a by-product.

Also, seaside communities can employ the methods to tap natural ocean energy described above to supplement municipal power and energy needs.

Ocean energy is an evolving source of alternative energy production, and with more than 70 per cent of the surface of our planet covered by ocean, its future looks promising, depending on geographies and regulatory guidelines.

Learn more about ocean power on California’s energy web page.

Other Alternative Energy Sources

These two types of renewable energy have to be produced using mechanical means, rather than by harnessing a natural process.

Bioenergy is a type of renewable energy derived from biomass to create heat and electricity or to produce liquid fuels such as ethanol and biodiesel used for transportation.

Biomass refers to any organic matter coming from recently living plants or animals. 

Even though bioenergy generates about the same amount of carbon dioxide as fossil fuels, the replacement plants that are grown as biomass remove an equal amount of CO2 from the atmosphere.

This keeps the environmental impact relatively neutral or minimal.

There are a variety of systems used to generate this type of electricity, ranging from directly burning biomass to capturing and using methane gas produced by the natural decomposition of organic material.

How is bioenergy used? Businesses or organizations that transport goods or people can convert their fleets to vehicles that use biofuels such as ethanol or biodiesel.

Manufacturing facilities can be equipped to burn biomass directly to produce steam captured by a turbine to generate electricity.

In some cases, this process can have a dual purpose by powering the facility as well as heating it. 

For example, paper mills can use wood waste to produce electricity and steam for heating. 

Farm operations can convert waste from livestock into electricity using small, modular systems.

Towns can tap the methane gas created by the anaerobic digestion of organic waste in landfills and use it as fuel for generating electricity.

Hydrogen: High Energy/Low Pollution

Hydrogen is the simplest (comprised of one proton and one electron) and most abundant element in the universe, yet it does not occur naturally as a gas on earth. 

Instead, it is found in organic compounds (hydrocarbons such as gasoline, natural gas, methanol and propane) and water (H2O). 

Hydrogen can also be produced under certain conditions by some algae and bacteria using sunlight as an energy source.

Hydrogen is high in energy yet produces little or no pollution when burned.

Liquid hydrogen has been used to launch space shuttles and other rockets into orbit since the 1950s. 

Hydrogen fuel cells convert the potential chemical energy of hydrogen into electricity, with pure water and heat as the only byproducts.

However, commercialization of these fuel cells as a practical source of green energy will likely be limited until costs come down and durability improves.

Almost all the hydrogen used in the United States is used in industry to refine petroleum, treat metals, produce fertilizer and process foods. 

In addition, hydrogen fuel cells are used as an energy source where hydrogen and oxygen atoms are combined to generate electricity.

There are also currently a few hundred hydrogen-powered vehicles operating in the United States, a number that could increase as the cost of fuel cell production drops and the number of refuelling stations increases.

Other practical applications for this type of renewable energy include large fuel cells providing emergency electricity for buildings and remote locations, electric motor vehicles powered by hydrogen fuel cells and marine vessels powered by hydrogen fuel cells.

GVE Projects Limited, an innovative, indigenous renewable energy solution provider in Sub-Saharan Africa, has deployed an 18KVA solution to power an isolation and treatment facility upgraded and furnished by the Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) at the Enugu State Medical Diagnostics Centre, Nigeria.

GVE also successfully deployed a 12KVA solar system with 30kWh battery storage solution at the Rivers State COVID-19 Isolation Facility located at the Eleme General Hospital, Ogale, Nchia in April.

Funding for the provision of emergency solar power to these health centres was provided by All On’s N180m COVID-19 Solar Relief Fund launched on March 31, 2020. All On, an impact investing firm funded by Shell, released this fund as part of its efforts towards the national response to contain the pandemic.

GVE CEO, Mr. Ifeanyi Orajaka, said, “As a socially responsible organization, we are happy to provide assistance during this national crisis despite the challenges caused by the lockdown. I salute the selflessness of my colleagues who implemented these projects in strict compliance with necessary health and safety guidelines.”

This effort was accomplished in close collaboration with All On, Stakeholder Democracy Network (SDN), Clean Technology Hub (CTH), and the Rivers and Enugu State governments.

All On CEO, Dr. Wiebe Boer, said, “In line with our mission, these projects further demonstrate our commitment to supporting relief efforts in the Niger Delta and Nigeria as a whole during these critical times, and we commend GVE for its professional and timely execution”.

Similar sentiments have been shared by other partners.

SDN Programmes Advisor, Chris Newsom, said, “SDN is pleased to play a facilitation role on the Eleme project. Credit goes to GVE and the Ministry of Health, Rivers State, for connecting efficiently to make this happen swiftly.”

The projects could potentially deliver long term, direct impact on the communities.

Founder/CEO of CTH Ms. Ifeoma Malo, said, “The installation at the Enugu isolation centre will greatly mitigate the spread of the virus in the state and environs, by providing uninterrupted electricity to help patient management and support healthcare facilities at the centre.”

These solar installations will ensure the provision of uninterrupted power supply at the Rivers and Enugu State COVID-19 isolation facilities.

In addition to these on-going projects, GVE is further collaborating with All On to provide complimentary electricity to 21 healthcare facilities in its mini-grid sites located in rural communities across eight states in Nigeria. This on-going intervention will ensure that over 37,000 residents in rural communities enjoy access to affordable healthcare services over the next six months.

To achieve this feat, GVE is collaborating with other partners including IEEE Smart Village, Jinko Solar, Schneider Electric, Ardova Plc (formerly Forte’ Oil), Tranos to deploy emergency solar solutions at other COVID-19 isolation and testing centres across the country.

Administrator, CACOVID Zouera Youssoufou said: We are impressed by the efficiency with which GVE Projects Limited delivered the solar installation at the CACOVID-funded isolation centre in Enugu.

These partnerships are a demonstration that takes all sectors working together to curb the spread of this menace.”

For more on GVE Projects Limited by visit https://gve-group.com/You can also find GVE on FacebookInstagram and Twitter

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