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PV Mini Grids in Uganda – Best Practices

PV Mini Grids in Uganda – Best Practices

by Al-Mas Sendegeya, Uganda (PPRE 1999-2000), Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Kyambogo University, Uganda

Dr. Al-Mas Sendegeya has attended and given presentations in a number of fora on Sustainable and/or Renewable Energy. He has experience of more than 20 years lecturing and curriculum development in Tertiary institutions and supervising students’ research projects at both undergraduate and Master’s levels. He has engaged in energy and power systems research addressing extending power to rural communities. His main research interest is in the field of sustainable energy, energy for rural development and social engineering aspects. His research interest is to cover the gap between social related problems and engineering. His research publications are mainly in capacity building in sustainable energy. He has provided various consultancy services in the field of Solar Energy and rural energy development with GIZ Uganda. He served on the board of an NGO in Uganda promoting Renewable Energy technologies in Uganda. Under this Organisation he worked on a number of rural energy projects, and served as the technical advisor in Renewable Energy issues and Energy for Rural transformation. He was involved in the EU funded project, the Sothern African Sustainable Energy (SASEI) project coordinated by Namibia University Science and Technology (NUST). The project has been focusing on capacity building in sustainable energy in which three regional partner institutions were involved (Namibia, Botswana and Lesotho) and one Germany University. He has engaged in a number energy consultancy with different private sectors. Technical Consultant with the Electricity Control Board in Namibia. Solar thermal Training expert under the SOLTRAIN project managed by the Namibia Energy Institute (NEI), under the Namibia University of Science and Technology. Considering isolated mini-grids and embedded generation. Currently, engaged in a number of research activities related to sustainable energy issues. A visiting lecturer with the National University of Lesotho, giving lectures on Sustainable Energy. Full time employment at Kyambogo University in the Faculty of Engineering, Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering. A national coordinator for the joint project “Resilient and Sustainable Energy Networks for Developing Countries” done with other universities (University of Southampton, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology).

Current Research

Background

The demand for modern energy services is increasing in most part of the world especially in the developing nations. Rural electrification is among the issues addressed on the agenda of most governments in the developing nations. Energy for Rural Transformation is becoming a slogan among developing nations to capture the understanding of the need to increase modern energy services in rural communities. The demand for affordable, reliable and sustainable energy services is increasing in most parts of the developing nations. The success of such energy supply should consider promoting and developing locally available resources e.g. renewable energy sources. To increase reliability of supply the optimal design and hybrid operation of these systems should be given special consideration. In this regard, planners and designers of isolate rural power systems are increasingly considering hybrid power supply systems. Mini-grids in power networks can be considered isolated though may have various power supply options.

Mini-grids at Kanyegaramire and Kyamugarura

Kyamugarura and Kanyegaramire villages are located in Western part of Uganda, Kitega Parish, Bufunjo Subcounty Mwenge county, Kyenjojo District almost at the same latitude (0.6579580N), longitude (30.8644820E) and altitude. The two villages operate solar PV power mini-grids. The two mini-grids are close to each other at a distance of about 1km. The infrastructure in the area in terms of roads and other systems like mobile communication facilities are available. The two sites have power plants of the same capacity. Solar PV Plant with installed capacity for panels of 13.5kW, 54 modules each at 250Wp. The inverter size in each site is 10,000VA, 2 inverters @ 5,000VA, 48V and storage capacity 24 Batteries @ 800Ah, 2V. The grid networks in both areas are standard single-phase AC 240 Volts power network for low voltage consumers. The installation was designed following standard grid codes of the country. The developer is the same and the support locally is from the main stakeholder (Rural Electrification Agency, REA).  REA is working on the upgrading of the systems to coup up with the increasing demand.

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