Establishment of clean energy microgrids worldwide is increasing to supply power to remote villages, which are not connected to the main electric grid, or only have access to electricity powered by diesel for a few hours a day. A battery-based microgrid system ensures these areas have access to reliable energy 24/7, enabling remote communities to operate lighting, communications, radios, TV and other electrical appliances. Access to electricity also enhances productivity of local businesses and fosters the development of new commercial activities.
Microgrids Giving Opportunities to the Poor
The majority of Haiti has little to no access to grid power, and the town of Les Anglais was no exception. Thanks to a grant EarthSpark International received from the “USAID Powering Agriculture: An Energy Grand Challenge for Development,” the organization was able to implement a hybrid microgrid with battery backup for the Les Anglais community.
The microgrid is the first of its kind in Haiti and includes 93kW solar PV, a 410kWh Trojan deep-cycle lead acid battery bank, and 30KW backup diesel generator. Smart meters were developed to serve residential and commercial customers, including agricultural processing facilities. After three years of feasibilities studies with a small group of customers, EarthSpark was ready to implement the SparkMeter system for the Les Anglais microgrid. EarthSpark’s microgrid provides reliable electrical power to the community, which consists of 450 households and businesses, and the downtown area of Les Anglais.
Trojan’s deep-cycle 8D gel batteries are key components in the photovoltaic microgrid application to provide reliable energy storage. They also enable the project to reduce operating costs by eliminating or reducing the need for diesel fuel consumption, fuel transportation, and maintenance required by diesel generators. The 93kW solar PV solution is supported by a 480-volt battery bank container solution featuring 152 Trojan deep-cycle gel batteries with 38 batteries per string.
ZeroBase, a key project partner in charge of installation and commissioning of the microgrid, worked closely with equipment vendors to obtain all the components needed to ensure the project would benefit from industry-leading technology and within budget for the Les Anglais microgrid installation.
Colombia Micro Grids Bring Power to Remote Villages
The Municipality of Acandi, which is located in western Colombia, is an area that is mainly jungle along the Caribbean Sea bordering Panama. This remote area is not tied to an electrical grid and residents only had access to electricity for just a few hours a day via diesel generators.
The Colombia Ministry of Mines and Energy issued a mandate to expand the availability of electricity to these remote areas by building five solar hybrid microgrids, with a total solar capacity of 191 KWp. This project is the first of its kind in the Choco region and provides 431 households access to clean, affordable and reliable energy for the next 20 years.
One of the greatest incentives for the installation of the five microgrids was to reduce the use of diesel fuel. Not only were the generators noisy and emitted pollutants, but the area can only be accessed by boat, so transportation costs are prohibitively high. In addition, when a generator broke down, the community would have to go without electricity until someone could fix it, which can take some time in these remote locations.
But today, the solar microgrids with battery backup provide electricity for most of the day, so residents don’t have to plan their day around the time when electricity would have been available via the diesel generators. Children can now study at night, parents can cook in the evening without having to use candles, and businesses can stay open after the sun goes down.
With batteries being one of the most expensive components of a microgrid, the economics of the projects required the installation of Trojan’s deep-cycle industrial batteries that are engineered to achieve a 20-year life, while at the same time having the lowest price per KWh per cycle. These Trojan deep-cycle batteries feature Smart Carbon™, Trojan’s proprietary carbon formula, which addresses the inconsistent charging the batteries would experience on a regular basis. This carbon additive enhances overall battery life, as well as improves charge acceptance and provides a faster recharge of the batteries.
The benefit of having reliable access to electricity contributes to expansion and improvement of the commercial activities of the communities, as well as attracts more tourists to the area. These factors improve the overall quality of life and allow the residents to have access to improved communications, education and jobs for many years to come.
Romina Arcamone Garcia,
Market Manager – Latin America,
Trojan Battery, Co., LLC
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