What’s a solar mini-grid?
Providing electricity to rural populations can take any one of three forms: grid extension; standalone solar systems; and solar mini-grid systems.
A mini-grid is a small-scale electricity network fed by solar energy. Mini-grids represent an interesting and important midway point between stand-alone and major grid electricity systems.
They typically serve remote communities that are not economical to connect to large grids due to their isolation.
For a community that has sufficient population density and diversity of end-users, it makes sense to connect them together.
Using mini-grid systems will save the government a lot of costs in providing stand-alone systems to supply electricity.
The use of a mini-grid also permits the use of generation technologies that might not be feasible or economical at a smaller scale.
Some examples include multiple diesel gen-sets, biomass, as well as small hydro facilities.
We generate and supply electricity– directly or indirectly via batteries – to clients who are connected to this mini-grid electricity network.
A group of people living close to each other, for instance, a village, can easily connect to this mini-grid.
We use the mini-grid technology when our customers have higher energy requirements.
The advantage of a solar mini-grid is that it can meet higher energy demands by for instance local businesses.
A solar mini-grid boosts business activities in rural areas, but can only be realized economically if the distance between clients is relatively small and there is sufficient electrical demand.
How does a mini-grid work?
The way the mini-grid works is very simple. We use solar panels to capture sunlight, which we convert into electricity.
Electricity then goes to an inverter that converts direct current into alternating current.
The alternating current is then fed directly or indirectly (via the batteries) into the electricity network.
Using pole lines to distribute the electricity around the community, it reaches all customers who connect to the network.
In some cases, a diesel generator is used as a backup for the solar power plant.
The generator will feed the network or batteries at times when solar energy production is insufficient.
While the batteries of the electricity network are recharging via a diesel generator, customers will not have access to the network for a period of time.
Advantages of a mini-grid:
There are numerous advantages to the use of solar mini-grids for rural electrification in Africa.
- As they’re not connected to the main grid, mini-grids only generate enough electricity for local consumption.
- This local nature of mini-grids allows developers to better track and understand a community’s energy needs so electricity supply can match demand.
- Mini-grids also avoid the problem of power cuts from the main grid, ensuring a less intermittent supply of electricity.
- A more dependable electricity supply allows businesses to stay open later and develop faster.
- Clinics also benefit from having a constant power supply as well as small provision stores selling cold drinks.
- Households can now power fridges, and fans and also charge their phones easily.
- Solar mini-grid system design requires little maintenance
- What’s more satisfying about the solar mini-grid system is that there is no dependence on the import of diesel and fluctuating energy prices
- Being environmentally friendly, the solar mini-grid system does not emit pollutants into the surrounding.
You see that the advantages of installing a solar mini-grid system are numerous.
GVE-Projects Ltd has installed a lot of solar mini-grid systems in various communities and business centres in Nigeria.
We are always available to provide energy solutions for your everyday use.
Contact us today to get a FREE quote. You may also like to check our solar packages for more details.
GVE Projects Ltd Address:
Winorac Engineering Building,
Plot 34 Boskel Road,
Port Harcourt, Nigeria
+234 909 2227 483, +234 909 2229 483