Hybrid solar minigrid to power Tanzanian island village

A hybrid solar photovoltaic-battery energy storage-diesel minigrid project aims to provide power for around 400 households in the remote island village of Lake Victoria (pictured) in Tanzania.

The pilot project will be developed by US-based research organisation MRIGlobal on behalf of Tanzania’s Rex Investment Ltd. Partial funding will be provided by an $818,000 grant from the US Trade and Development Agency under the rubric of the country’s Power Africa initiative.

An initial feasibility study and the resulting project aim to investigate and demonstrate the use of off-grid, hybrid PV-storage-diesel-based minigrids for remote locations. Time to completion is estimated at 18 months.

Also participating in the project will be solar power company Rex Energy (a division of Rex Investment), the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), solar developer SunEdison, solar microinverter manufacturer Enphase Energy, microgrid software maker HOMER LLC and Tanzanian analytics firm Rulex Media.

“The minigrid system is certainly the future of rural electrification in Tanzania,” said Rex Energy’s Managing Director, Francis Kibhisa. Thomas Sack, president and CEO of MRIGlobal, added that the project “fills a critical need for rural electrification in Tanzania and will ultimately improve lives and help grow the local economy.”

Lake Victoria, located in Tanzania’s Ukerewe district, currently has no access to electricity.


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