SolarAfrica, Aquion Energy install offgrid solar system in Kenya

14th July 2016 By: Natasha Odendaal - Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

Solar energy services firm SolarAfrica on Thursday said it had, along with Aqueous Hybrid Ion batteries and energy storage systems manufacturer Aquion Energy, completed the installation of an offgrid microgrid at the wildlife research and ecotourism hub Loisaba Conservancy, in Kenya.

The offgrid solar and storage system was equipped with two independent systems – 106 kWh of Aquion batteries and a 37 kW solar array – and effectively replaced diesel generators to power a commercial laundry, swimming pool, kitchen, business services, lighting, cooling and other facility loads, reducing Loisaba’s diesel use by 95%.

Funded, designed, installed and integrated by SolarAfrica, the microgrid’s solar array powered various loads from the facilities and pools, while charging the Aquion batteries during the day for discharge at night or to provide power during periods of cloud cover.

“The outcome of this project has made many significant changes to the way we use energy and how we perceive it. We noticed how the lodge quickly descended into a blissfully quiet state, as the constant humming of generators were turned off,” SolarAfrica project manager Dr Kobus van Tonder said.

“Another great benefit of switching to solar energy, and storing it effectively, is that it is now significantly cheaper than running diesel generators, which also means that the consumption of diesel decreases, as does the carbon footprint.”

In addition to saving up to 95% of diesel consumption, 53 t a year of carbon dioxide emissions were saved, added Aquion Energy chief commercial officer Tim Poor.