With more than 600-million people in Africa lacking access to clean, affordable and reliable energy, new technological developments such as off-grid solutions are becoming increasingly important.
Power generation company Cummins specialises in the design and manufacture of pre-integrated generator sets from 8 kVA to 3 300 kVA.
Off-grid solutions are based on the specific needs of the operation or application in question, classed generally as either standby or prime.
“As the name suggests, standby provides power in the event of grid failure, which means the duty is far lower. A light application, for example, would require a generator designed for about 20 to 40 hours of operation a month,” says Cummins generation director Kenny Gaynor
Prime solutions are entirely separate from the national grid, and supply load power on a 24/7 basis.
“This option requires considerably better planning and far greater investment, as the entire outcome of the operation depends on the power supply,” says Gaynor.
“The genset needs to be specified precisely. This means the most important aspect to take into consideration is the original-equipment manufacturer or supplier. Product quality, parts availability, after-sales service, and technical capability are paramount to success. If one aspect fails, the entire project fails,” he stresses.
As part of its off-grid offering, Cummins provides a range of services, including conceptualisation, design, construction, installation, commissioning, operation and maintenance.
Because of the complex and intricate nature of such solutions, an expert is assigned to oversee all aspects of the project, including the training of personnel.
“It is essential that a competent expert is on site 24/7, as only a few minutes of power outage can result in millions of rands in lost production. Cummins also stocks essential parts on site to ensure minimal downtime. Unfortunately, not all parts can be kept on site. To ensure minimal disruption, the company has a logistics supply chain to ensure that any part reaches site in the shortest possible turnaround times,” Gaynor concludes.