PV Mini-Grids Provide Electricity To 300 Villages In Senegal

Senegal wants to give its population permanent access to electricity by 2025. However, half of the country’s approximately 17 million residents live in rural areas, sometimes a long way from the national utility grid. The government is therefore looking to decentralized and environmentally friendly energy solutions. The government’s ASER300 project is bringing electricity to 300 villages all around the country with mini-grids, which include PV modules, inverters, batteries, and cooling systems.

Drought, arid and saline soil, lack of rainfall, forest dieback – Senegal is feeling the full impact of climate change. This has consequences that go beyond the population’s health and food security. More and more young people in rural areas are also migrating to big cities in search of better prospects. The agriculture sector, which already has enough problems as a result of climate change, is now also facing a labor shortage. The democratic country on Africa’s west coast has therefore decided to massively expand its infrastructure in order to offer young people better prospects again. One of its aims is to give everyone in Senegal permanent access to the utility grid by 2025. The main focus is on expansion in rural areas, such as with the ASER300 project, which is bringing electricity to 300 villages using mini-grids. Best of all, the technology for the energy supply comes inside a standard shipping container. Once in place, all it needs is sunshine. And there is plenty of that in Senegal.

The ASER300 project in Senegal uses mini-grid systems from Asantys Systems and Off-Grid Europe with SMA’s Sunny Island battery inverters. The system comprises PV modules, PV and battery inverters, batteries, control technology and a cooling system. The practical element is that all this fits inside a typical shipping container, which serves as technical control room, as a battery-storage system, and for the shipping of all the components. Special air-conditioning technology provides optimum conditions despite extreme external temperatures of 40 degrees Celsius in the shade. The PV modules from the Off-Grid Europe version are attached to the roof of the container, where they provide the system with shade and are better protected from dust and dirt. The inverter converts the direct current from the PV system, from where it is fed directly into the grid. Excess electric current is stored in powerful batteries, ensuring a constant electricity supply.