South African power utility Eskom has launched a pilot solar-powered microgrid project with lithium-ion battery energy storage system in the country’s Free State province.
The demonstration plant harnesses solar energy and converts it “to a peak of 32 kilowatts electrical energy via photovoltaic panels and power inverters”.
The remaining energy from the solar panels is stored in three sets of batteries with 90kWh of storage capacity.
Eskom said the demonstration project provides electricity to 14 homes and a total of 81 residents that make up the Wilhelmina Farm community.
Residents can draw down power from the batteries when there is little or no sunlight available to the solar panels.
The project is a partnership between the community, South Africa’s Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and the Smart Grid Centre of Excellence of Eskom's Research, Testing and Development (RT&D) centre.
RT&D’s Nick Singh said the project would help guide plans for incorporating “renewable and smart energy technologies” in remote regions— and “play an important future role as an integral part of Eskom’s business”.