October 3, 2019: One of Africa’s best known game parks has been installed with a battery-backed solar microgrid, South African energy supply firm Dhybrid and solar company Blockpower announced on October 1.
The Universal Power Platform, comprising three solar plants with 895 PV modules and a 1MWh Samsung SDI lithium battery, has been installed at the South African Kruger National Park’s Cheetah Plains Lodge.
A diesel generator is also integrated into the microgrid, but will only be fired up during periods of less sunshine.
The battery and inverter are housed in an air-conditioned ocean container
“Available peak power capacity for the lodge has been increased by four times to 250kW since it switched over to the microgrid from its previous energy supplier, ESKOM,” said Cheetah Plains owner Japie van Niekerk.
The system continuously monitors all the important grid parameters and facilitates automated operation, controlling connected energy generators and storage to maximize the use of renewable energy, the firm said.
“Unlike traditional independent microgrids, where either the diesel generator or the solar installation can be run at a given time, the UPP can control different energy generators simultaneously,” the company said. “This makes the entire system noticeably more efficient, meaning that the diesel generator only needs to be switched on when energy consumption is unusually high or in periods of bad weather.”