South Africa’s power state-owned utility, Eskom has announced to have successfully delivered electricity from a solar microgrid demonstration project that was developed and tested over a period of 16 months.
Nick Singh from Eskom’s Research, Testing and Development Centre confirmed the reports and said that this is a mega project that symbolizes innovation, growth and development and is consistent with Eskom’s future.
“The project symbolizes innovation, growth and development and is consistent with Eskom’s future strategic objectives as microgrids incorporating renewable and smart energy technologies will play an important role in the future Eskom as an integral part of the business,” he explained.
Eskom, launched its ground-breaking pilot solar-powered microgrid at Wilhelmina Farm, Ficksburg in the Free State. The plant harnesses solar energy and converts it to a peak of 32 kilowatt electrical energy via solar photovoltaic panels and power inverters.
The remaining energy from the solar panels is stored in three sets of lithium ion batteries, totalling 90 kilowatt hours of storage. This storage facility will provide electricity when there is low or no sunlight available to the solar photovoltaic panels.
Similar microgrids using either solar or wind resources
Similar microgrids, using either solar or wind resources, will be rolled out in various parts of the country in due course. This will especially target rural areas with no access to the national grid.
The Wilhelmina farm solar microgrid demonstration project is established in close partnership between the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, the community of Wilhelmina farm, and the Smart Grid Centre of Excellence of the Eskom’s Research, Testing and Development (RT&D).