Here in Australia, we take electricity and street lighting for granted; but for many communities in Africa, it’s a very big deal. Solar power isn’t just a clean electricity source, but one that is creating positive change in many other ways in developing nations.
Juwi Solar GmbH has announced the completion of a rural electrification project in Northern Namibia that will provide around a hundred households and all public buildings in Tsumkwe with electricity from a solar hybrid system. It is the first time in 3 years the community has had a consistent electricity supply due to the increasing costs of oil limiting the previous generator’s usage to just 3 hours a day maximum.
With a total capacity of 200 kW, a deep cycle battery storage capacity of one megawatt, SMA inverters and three integrated diesel generators, the company says the installation is one of Africa’ s largest off-grid solar power systems.
The 918 polycrystalline solar panels will supply Tsumkwe all its power needs during the day. At night or during conditions of low sunlight, the diesel generators will automatically kick in if the deep cycle battery system runs low. The system is set up to disconnect non-essential loads in favour of essential loads if certain conditions occur.
The high-tech solar hybrid system will see Tsumkwe reduce its electricity costs by 25 percent.
Unlike some solar projects in remote communities where locals are left on their own after the plant has been installed with little or no training to run the system, local technicians have been trained by juwi employees to operate and maintain it. Additionally, GSM remote monitoring allows the solar farm to be monitored and controlled via the Internet from Windhoek or Germany.
Originally focused on wind power, juwi was founded in 1996 by Matthias Willenbacher and Fred Jung. Today the company has more than 1,400 employees around the world and a sales volume of approximately 800 million euros.