State-owned power utility Eskom has launched a pilot solar-powered microgrid at Wilhelmina farm, in Ficksburg, in the Free State.
The microgrid demo plant is capable of providing electricity to 14 households with 81 family members, making up the Wilhelmina community.
The plant harnesses solar energy and converts it to a peak of 32 kW electrical energy through photovoltaic panels and power inverters.
The remaining energy from the solar panels is stored in three sets of lithium-ion batteries, totalling 90 kWh of storage. This storage facility provides electricity when there is low or no sunlight available to the solar panels.
“The project symbolises innovation, growth and development, while being consistent with Eskom’s future strategic objectives, since microgrids [that are] incorporating renewable and smart energy technologies will play an important role in Eskom’s future,” Eskom research, testing and development centre representative Nick Singh said in a statement issued at the weekend.