Intersolar Award 2016 goes to Schneider Electric solar off-grid project in rural Nigeria
This year the Intersolar Award included a new category of Outstanding Solar Projects to recognize projects from around the world that make an exceptional contribution to driving forward the energy transition.
The winning project under the Outstanding category brought solar power and storage to 172 schools and 11 public health centers in the State of Lagos, in rural Nigeria. We are honored to be recognized for our contribution to education, health and the overall standard of living in rural Nigeria.
What makes this project worthy of an award?
The Intersolar Europe jury was convinced by this project’s immense social impact. Technology, process, competency and fund-sourcing were combined to create a sustainable, plug and play system. It also proves that the technological solution with the Conext™ XW+ battery-based inverter solution pays off, and can stabilize security of supply in rural isolated areas. The technological innovation was to build a solution framework that was scalable, flexible, easy to deploy and maintain in the future.
The Lagos Solar project delivered 4.59 MW of sustainable solar power and the project was completed with the installation of 183 sites in only 8 months. Schneider Electric’s Conext XW+ battery-based inverters with the Conext Insight online monitoring was selected as the most reliable and robust technology for this off-grid project.
“ConextXW+ models were selected for this project because of their long-term record of reliability in Nigeria’s rugged market, as well their patented technology to improve battery life in a solar and storage system”, Lincoln Dahl – Principal of African Energy, one of our partners involved in the project.
Read our full case study to discover how Lagos is setting an electrifying example of how sustainable solar power is changing lives at this very moment. Reliable access to clean power is no longer a dream, and this project has paved the way towards a model of sustainability for the rest of Africa to follow.
The nation’s power generation fell by over 1,000 megawatts as four power plants were down on Saturday, bringing the total number of plants not generating electricity at the moment to 10.
The nation recorded a total system collapse on Friday, September 16, 2016, the 17th time this year, industry data obtained by our correspondent on Sunday showed.
The total power generation stood at 2,555.7MW as of 6am on Saturday, down from 3,596.2MW the previous day, worsening the outage being experienced by households and businesses across the country.
Electricity from the nation’s biggest power station, Egbin, located in Lagos, hit a record low of 246MW on Saturday from 425MW on Friday, while output from the Shiroro Power Station in Niger State, one of the nation’s hydropower plants, hit a high of 600MW.
The plants that were shut down after the collapse included Olorunsogo I and Olorunsogo II in Ogun State; Omotosho II in Ondo State; and Ihovbor located in Edo State, with installed capacities of 294MW, 500MW, 500MW and 225MW respectively.
Olorunsogo II and Omotosho II, which were built under the National Integrated Power Project, had on Friday generated 171MW and 83.5MW, while Olorunsogo I and Ihovbor produced 148.1MW and 165.6MW, respectively.
The units GT1 and 3 of Olorunsogo II were said to be untied after the system collapse of September 16; while GT2 and ST2 were out due to gas constraints; GT4 out due to water leakage on the generator cooler; and ST1 out on maintenance.
Omotosho II’s units GT2, GT3 and GT4 were said to be out due to gas constraints, while the GT1 was not yet tied after the system collapse.
Five of Omotosho I’s units, namely GT1, 3, 5, 7 and 8, were not yet tied after the system collapse; GT2 and 4 out due to gas constraints, and GT6 out on vibration trouble.
Ihovbor’s units GT1 and 3 were not yet tied after the system collapse; GT2 shut down due to oil leakage from the auxiliary compartment, and GT4 out due to unit transformer problem.
The system collapse also affected the Jebba Hydro Power Station as two of its units, 2G4 and 5, were said to be still untied as of Saturday, with its output falling to 277MW from 408MW on Friday.
Units GT2, 5, 7 and 8 of Omotosho I and GT2 of Alaoji II in Abia State are also not yet tied.
Other plants that did not generate any megawatts of electricity on Saturday were Sapele I, Afam IV&V, Afam VI, AES, ASCO and Rivers IPP.
The national grid has recorded 22 collapses this year – 17 total and five partial.
The country generates most of its electricity from gas-fired plants, while output from hydropower plants makes up about 30 per cent of total generation.
In what was a big blow to electricity generation in the country, Shell’s Forcados export terminal was hit mid-February, forcing the oil major to declare force majeure on the export of the crude oil grade.
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation had recently said, “The nation has lost over 1,500MW of power supply to the damage as gas supply from Forcados, which is Nigeria’s major artery, accounts for 40 to 50 per cent of gas production.”
The Transmission Company of Nigeria on February 2, 2016 announced that the nation had achieved its peak generation of 5,074.70MW.
But the feat was short-lived as generation dropped below the 4,000MW mark later that month, plunging to a record low of 1,400MW on May 17, according to the TCN.
Argonne National Laboratory mechanical engineer Wenhua Yu prepares to test a prototype thermal energy storage system developed at Argonne that will charge and discharge 20 times faster than current high-efficiency latent heat thermal energy storage systems. Testing validates the amount of thermal energy that can be stored and how efficiently it can be recovered for concentrated solar power and other potential applications
KATIE ELYCE JONES • SEPTEMBER 12, 2016
Energy storage is crucial for taking full advantage of solar power, which otherwise suffers interruptions from cloudy skies and nightfall. In the past few years, concentrating solar power plants have begun producing additional electricity at night and during peak demand periods by using stored heat energy to propel a steam turbine.
Current thermal energy storage systems rely on materials that store less energy per kilogram, requiring more material at a greater cost to meet energy storage requirements.
Now, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Argonne National Laboratory have designed an inexpensive thermal energy storage system that will be significantly smaller and perform more than 20 times better than current thermal systems.
With funding from DOE’s SunShot Initiative, the Argonne team is building a pilot-scale prototype of their high-efficiency latent heat thermal energy storage system (LHTES) for testing. The SunShot Initiative is a national collaborative effort to make unsubsidized solar energy cost-competitive with other forms of electricity production by 2020.
Argonne’s thermal energy storage system relies on a “phase-change” material that melts as it stores thermal energy and releases energy as it re-freezes — similar to the charge-discharge cycle in a battery.
Inexpensive salts like rock salt (sodium chloride) can be used as phase-change materials, but their use in existing thermal storage systems is limited because of the poor thermal conductivity of the salts.
However, the Argonne LHTES system drastically improves the conductivity of these salts by integrating them with a high-conductivity graphite foam. This combination reduces the overall amount of material needed to build the system and its cost, while making the thermal energy transfer significantly more efficient and still providing up to 8 to 12 hours of energy storage — a typical night of storage for a concentrating solar power plant.
“Phase-change materials tend to have low conductivity but meet the heat energy storage requirements,” said Dileep Singh, leader of Argonne’s Thermal-Mechanical Technologies group. “High-conductivity graphite foam meets the conductivity requirements, so we thought: why not combine the two?”
The porous graphite foam traps the salts in pores, facilitating rapid melting and freezing. The team demonstrated that this rapid phase change holds up over time. After building and testing an initial prototype about the size of a blender, the team is now scaling up the prototype size by 50 times.
Although still smaller than a full-scale power plant system, the pilot-scale modular system will be tested this fall and could expand on applications, such as providing back-up power on a microgrid or storing waste heat from another energy source. The pilot system will also further improve 3-D thermal modeling used for estimating performance and planning the design of a full-scale system.
“We are looking at developing the full-scale power plant system as a modular system, and the pilot-scale system we are building this year can actually be used as one module within a full-scale system that is made of many modules stacked or organized together,” said Argonne mechanical engineer Wenhua Yu. “Therefore, the performance characteristics we will measure from testing the pilot can directly reflect those of a power plant system.”
The full-scale design is expected to meet the needs of current power plants that operate steam turbines at about 450 to 600 degrees Celsius (850-1100 degrees Fahrenheit) using magnesium chloride as the storage medium. When advanced supercritical carbon dioxide turbines — which are more efficient than steam turbines but operate at a hotter 700 degrees Celsius (1,300 degrees Fahrenheit) — come online, the same design can be used with sodium chloride.
This work is supported by the DOE SunShot Initiative.
The SunShot Initiative is a collaborative national effort that aggressively drives innovation to make solar energy fully cost-competitive with traditional energy sources before the end of the decade. Through SunShot, the DOE supports efforts by private companies, universities, and national laboratories to drive down the cost of solar electricity to $0.06 per kilowatt-hour. Learn more at energy.gov/sunshot.
Babatunde Fashola, minister of power, works and housing, on Tuesday commissioned a 1.2 megawatts (MW) solar power plant donated to Nigeria by the Japanese government.
Fashola, who is working on raising Nigeria’s power profile through various energy mixes, inspected the plant at Lower Usama, Bwari Abuja.
“We want to get incremental power first, short-term objective. Energy anywhere, we can get it because the energy is not enough,” he said in an interview.
“Five thousand megawatts, which was our peak production in February this year, is not enough for a country of over 100 million people. We will get it from everywhere — from gas, solar, hydro from nuclear and biomass.”
The Solar Power Plant in Abuja
Nigeria, which currently generates less than 5,000MW of power, is billed to raise its energy profile to at least 6,000MW by the end of 2016.
According to President Muhammadu Buhari, “Nigerians’ favourite talking point and butt of jokes is the power situation in our country. But, ladies and gentlemen, it is no longer a laughing matter.
“We must and by the grace of God we will put things right. In the three years left for this administration we have given ourselves the target of ten thousand megawatts distributable power.
“In 2016 alone, we intend to add two thousand megawatts to the national grid. This sector has been privatised but has yet to show any improvement in the quality of service.”
Power generation is noted by the World Bank Doing Business report as one of the major hindrances to doing business in Nigeria.
A Canadian entrepreneur is using a business model familiar from ‘70s daytime TV to get Indians to embrace solar
By Jason Overdorf
Dressed in a teal green dhoti and a white undershirt, 63-year-old Kisan Singh chuckles when he’s asked how many hours of a typical day the village of Ranchi Bangar gets electricity from the power grid.
“At night, light comes from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m., so we can watch television and run the refrigerator and water pump,” he says, with a lopsided grin. “In the daytime, it’s anybody’s guess.”
Retired from the local government irrigation department, Singh lives with his son, daughter-in-law and grandsons in a squat brick house about 100 miles southeast of India’s capital, New Delhi. It’s a simple four-room dwelling—practically windowless, with brick walls and bare concrete floor, a few pots and pans stored on shelves, and plastic lawn chairs and nylon cots as the only furniture.
When it comes to green energy, however, the little house could well represent India’s future.
For a little more than a year, the family has been supplementing the sporadic electricity the village gets from the grid with solar energy, thanks to a new pay-as-you-go business model pioneered by Canadian entrepreneur Paul Needham and his company, Simpa Networks. Call it “rent-to-own solar.”
Needham is a serial tech entrepreneur whose online advertising company BidClix made its way into the portfolio of Microsoft. As a doctoral student in economics at Cambridge, he was obsessed with the reasons customers will shell out for certain products and not others. One of the questions that always bugged him was, “Why don’t I own solar panels?” The reason, he determined, was the high up-front costs.
Imagine if mobile phone service was sold like solar energy. From an operator’s perspective, it would have made great sense to try to sell customers 10 years of phone calls in advance, so as to quickly earn back the money invested in building cell towers. But the person who suggested such a strategy would have been fired immediately, Needham says.
“You want to charge people for what they value, not the technology that’s providing it,” he says in a telephone interview.
Realizing that the poorer the consumer, the more that axiom holds true, Needham teamed up with two microfinance experts about five years ago to develop small solar house systems for sale in India on a pay-as-you-go model. Today, they’ve installed systems in more than 20,000 homes and created 300 full-time jobs, as well as opportunities for 500-odd technicians and “solar entrepreneurs” who sell services based on having electricity in their shops or homes.
With $11 million in financing from various venture capitalists, as well as organizations like the Asian Development Bank and USAID, the company is scaling up fast—now growing its customer base by around 10 percent a month. The target is 1 million solar rooftops in rural India by 2019. With a little tweaking, the model could work in other developing countries, even in sophisticated markets like the U.S., Needham says. It’s actually been applied with some success in the U.S., he explains, but companies face issues due to the financing side of it. Entrepreneurs have to invest in equipment up front and only realize payments over time, so it’s easy to go bust if they don’t have enough capital.
Simpa’s solution borrows from prepaid cell service and the “rent-to-own” schemes notorious for fleecing poor Americans desperate for a television—turned to a good end.
With the most basic system, customers get a 40 watt solar panel, a 26 amp-hour battery, two LED lights, a 15-watt electrical outlet for appliances and two ports to charge or power USB devices—all of which operate using direct current (DC), so no inverter is necessary. The blue rooftop panel is about the size of a card table, angled toward the sun. The meter looks a bit like a car battery, with an e-ink readout to show how many “days” balance is remaining. It comes with special LED tube lights, about half the size of the schoolroom fluorescents we’re used to, and a freestanding electric fan.
It costs about $270 to buy the system outright and get free electricity for an estimated 10 years. But most customers choose a pay-as-you-go contract that allows them to purchase the kit in monthly payments over two or three years. Over three years, that means paying an extra 50 percent for the system. But the small payments are easy to manage, and the arrangement makes customers confident that the company will keep the equipment working, so as to get paid. The pay-as-you-go system also features on-site service and an extended warranty.
That’s proven to be vital, because do-gooders and fly-by-night companies alike have in the past failed to maintain systems installed with loans or charitable funds, sowing general distrust in solar, Needham says.
“When the batteries need to be topped up or there’s a little problem with the wiring, those systems just stop working,” he says.
With the pay-as-you-go scheme, customers typically pay 15 to 30 U.S. cents a day to power a fan, three lights and a mobile phone charger. They can see how many days they have remaining by pressing a button on the keypad of their meter, and call a customer service rep to take a top-up payment anytime, with cash-back bonuses for bulk purchases. About 10 percent choose to buy the system outright after six months or so, Needham said, and everybody is attracted to the idea that their payments are going toward a purchase.
“What we found was that most people wanted to own the equipment themselves; they didn’t just want to keep paying to use it,” Needham says.
Apart from helping India in its battle to lower greenhouse gas emissions and relieving the strain on its overburdened power grid, the business could play an important role in reducing poverty, he believes.
Worldwide, approximately 1.6 billion people have no access to electricity and another 1 billion have extremely unreliable access, according to a Simpa case study. The poorest spend up to a third of their income on kerosene and access to third-party electricity—a whopping $38 billion for kerosene and $10 billion to charge their cell phones. That means over the 10-year lifespan of one of Simpa’s more advanced $400 solar systems, a typical user would have spent $1,500 to $2,000 on kerosene, candles, batteries and phone charging. Meanwhile, they’ll have missed out on economic benefits associated with electrification, including increasing income-generating working hours and improving school performance.
“Before we got the solar system, I was cooking in the dark,” says 26-year-old Anjali Gehlot, Singh’s daughter-in-law. “We were using candles and kerosene lamps. My children weren’t able to study at night or they weren’t able to sleep because there was no fan.”
With temperatures soaring to more than 104 degrees Fahrenheit for almost half the year in Ranchi Bangar, that’s a huge selling point. So much so that Gehlot prevailed on her husband to have a second “Turbo 240” system—the number 240 refers to its two 40-watt panels—installed three months earlier.
In total, the family now pays about $24 a month for solar power—about 15 percent of what Gehlot spends to feed a family of five—as a result. But the added comfort is more than worth that price, she says.
“It’s cheaper than the bill for the grid electricity,” Gehlot says.
And the light always comes on when she flicks the switch.
The record-breaking installations of solar panels in the U.S. continues with an eye-popping 2 gigawatts installed in just the second quarter of this year, according to new data from GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).
The solar industry installed 2,051 megawatts between April and June, marking the eleventh consecutive quarter in which the U.S. saw more than a gigawatt of solar capacity added to the grid. The volume of installations also marks 43 percent growth from the same quarter in 2015. “We’re seeing the beginning of an unprecedented wave of growth that will occur throughout the remainder of 2016, specifically within the utility PV segment,” Cory Honeyman, GTM Research associate director of U.S. solar research, said in a statement. “With more than 10 gigawatts of utility PV currently under construction, the second half of this year and the first half of 2017 are on track to continue breaking records for solar capacity additions.”
Growth in the solar industry continues to pick up steam. In a sign of how strong this year could turn out to be for solar, more solar is expected to be installed in the last six months of 2016 alone than in any other full year.
Solar panels are still largely made up of utility-scale projects, but the smaller residential segment is growing quickly. GTM Research and SEIA say that the U.S. now has more than 1 million homes with solar panels.
California, the largest solar state and longtime engine of the solar industry, has seen growth slow a bit. However, other states, such as Utah and Texas, are picking up where the Golden State has left off, an indication that solar is becoming a mainstream option in more and more parts of the country, not just in liberal-leaning states.
To be sure, the record-breaking year in 2016 is being partially driven by the expected expiration of the investment tax credit, a key federal incentive that has spurred growth in solar. The ITC was supposed to expire at the end of this year but was extended through 2021 as part of a late-2015 Congressional budget deal, a huge boost for the industry. But with so many utility-scale projects planned to take advantage of the tax credit in 2016, this year could be exceptionally good for installations. Newer projects will take time to come online, so it remains to be seen if there is a bit of a drop-off in 2017 after the huge pipeline of projects in 2016 is cleared.
This article originally appeared on OilPrice.com. Read more from OilPrice.com:
The US is installing more solar in on one quarter that is equivalent to half of what Nigeria generates in total from the grid. We are still signing MOU. Raj Fashola wake up and smell the solar.
AWPS Renewable Energy Ltd specializes in solar power design and installation in Nigeria.
Yesterday we went to visit two clients and one enthusiast in Oworo.
The enthusiast is a young man that has followed Dr Solar on Nairaland for a while. He got someone to install a small solar system for him and he could not understand why he was not getting the expected yields from the system,
After a brief inspection of his system; some conclusions. We are not 100% sure that his panels are 130 W each. Two: the cables from the controller to the battery need to be shortened and three: he needs to keep the same size cable on the positive and negative from the controller to the batteries. We did a firmware upgrade on his charge controller and gave him a history of his production. We also suggested he add additional panels to compensate for the poor yields during the rainy season.
His system: 2 130 watt panels, 1 12V 200AH battery, a 30 amp Fangpusun 100/30 MPPT controller and a 1.5 Kva inverter. How does he use the system? (I have a led TV 32inch, gotv, charge my phone, standing fan and occasionally use my laptop) From 6:30 to 11:30 pm daily during the week. Read his post on Nairaland.
We went from Oworo to Magboro to visit another client that did a solar only upgrade. We did a firmware upgrade, spent some time shooting the breeze and asked him to run his generator that evening because there was no production from his panels that day. (He already had an inverter and batteries)
1.8 Kw 200 AH in battery
Our last visit was with Mr Sotonye who lives in Sparklight Estate. There are power lines but the estate has not had grid power for more than 5 years.
He has 4 kw in panels 404 AH in batteries (8) and a 4 KW Inverter. He has lived with our system since February of 2015.
Watching Football on TV
AWPS Renewable Energy is so confident in the quality of our work, that our clients become a part of the family and invite us to spend time with their families.
Call us today at 01 8881040 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and start your journey to energy independence.
We talk daily about the power challenges that face Nigeria. The challenge has existed for more than 40 years. I am not sure that our current minister of power has a true handle on how to resolve the power issues. He keeps talking about regional solutions to a national problem. Talks about concentrating wind and sun resources in the Northern part of Nigeria.
New Jersey a state with average of 95 sunny days a year has over 1632 MW of installed solar capacity. In 2015 New Jersey installed 415 MW and the industry created over 7000 jobs.
Read below about China’s experience in 2015. They installed more wind and solar in one year that is twice of what Ireland consumed
China is drawing more and more power from renewables — in fact, new data collected by Greenpeace shows that in 2015 the country’s growth in wind and solar energy more than exceeded its increase in electricity demand.
Ningxia Wind Farm in Northern China.
Image credits Land Rover Our Planet / Flickr.
“Eco-friendly” probably isn’t the first word most people would use when describing China. But for all the smog and pollution, the country is actually putting a lot of effort into going green. Greenpeace reported that China’s electricity consumption rose by half a percent last year, from 5522 TWh (terawatt hours) to 5550 TWh. All this new demand was easily met by wind and solar power, which produced 186.3 TWh and 38.8 TWh of power in 2015, compared to 153.4 TWh and 23.3 TWh the year before — that’s an increase of 21% and 64%, respectively.
To put these numbers into perspective, China installed half of the world’s new solar and wind capacity last year. Its wind farms alone could have met half of the UK’s needs in 2015 (304 TWh.) According to the data, the extra 48 TWh of solar and wind China installed in 2015 alone could have powered two Irelands (24 TWh consumption) for the whole of 2015.
Image credits Greenpeace.
But the Chinese aren’t just beefing up their renewable capacity, they’re also cutting down on coal. The new clean energy plants being installed along with a shift away from heavy industry means that coal use in China has been dropping for three years in a row.
China, however, remains the biggest emitter of CO2 in the world, but they’re working on that too — last week, the country announced that it was ratifying the Paris climate agreement, alongside the United States.
So hats off to the Chinese! Hopefully, their achievements will spur the United States to catch up in the race to lead the post-fossil fuels global economy.