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“Let’s make solar work” initiative just started in Nigeria

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Challenge

Let’s make Solar work! …and save fuel as well

Nigeria’s industry and critical infrastructures in urban and remote areas frequently suffer from an unreliable grid power supply and poor power quality. To provide some autonomy from the instabilities of the grid, diesel generators are widely used. This is, however, an expensive and unsustainable solution: Fuel prices are generally increasing, generators are often loud and they emit heavy fumes. Furthermore, many generators are over-sized and often do not run well. This results in shorter equipment lifetimes and higher fuel cost.

 

This context can be easily improved with basic energy efficiency methods, such as demand & load curve analysis and the verification of solar energy potentials at any location. Having a demand & load curve analysis done will frequently reveal savings potentials of up to 50%. Our project consortium trains Nigerian energy efficiency professionals on how to effectively measure power demand and how to properly dimension energy generation systems that really meet the needs of institutional clients who produce and consume their own power.

 

The trained professionals will be able to simulate the solar potential at the clients’ locations and generate an accurate plant sizing for diesel only and/or solar PV diesel hybrid systems. On this basis, institutional clients are presented with the project economics of all analysed alternatives. As a result, they hold in hand a document stating precise, bankable diesel and grid power savings.

 

Let’s make solar work! trained professionals will be able to inform their clients about the economics of a solar investment, such as size, costs, savings and pay-back, solar coverage and more. With significantly reduced annual power bills, institutional clients will be saving money with every sunbeam.                                                 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

Challenge #1: Common oversizing of power generators

Ideally fuel engines running on diesel or gas should run at least around 60-75% of their maximum rated load. Running a generator at too high or too low speeds and/or at “low loads” during prolonged periods causes soot formation, unburned fuel residues, carbon build-up and even internal glazing. More generally, inefficient generator operation causes increased vulnerability of all power equipment.

 

In Nigeria, power supply is relying heavily on fuel based power generators which are regularly oversized by 50%. This results in generators with highly inefficient combustion processes. And it costs a lot more money than necessary or planned, spent on avoidable fuel expenditures, downtimes, maintenance personnel and spare parts.

 

Sizing a Diesel generator or a Solar power plant cannot solely base on rough estimations. Weak data and, if at all, rather short-term load analysis likely results in oversized system design and false expectations about savings.

``We help you to size your next power investment correctly.``

Challenge #2: Does Solar really work?

In Nigeria, many mid-sized solar projects fail because of improper planning from both sides, the EPCs and the clients who often demand photovoltaic (PV) systems without a clear understanding of what their power requirements really are.

 

Local EPCs rarely perform power audits or load measurements, or even request a power demand analysis from their clients. Solar systems are seen by customers rather as an off-the-shelf product than a system which needs to be precisely fitted to the customers’ power demand.

 

Hence, many PV systems are not well dimensioned, planned, installed or operated. Furthermore, the quality of PV hardware is often poor because the lowest prices tend to lead the purchase decision.

``Solar PV-diesel-hybrid systems, if well planned, are autonomous power plants that fulfil their costs and savings pledge.``

Solar panels on building

Correct sizing and planning is a prerequisite for any new power generating equipment, whether fuelled by diesel or renewable energies. Skipping this important initial work-step is like pouring money down the drain right from the start.

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Solar Power Audit

OneShore’s knowledge of diesel generators and in-depth long-term analysis of power loads, combined with its experience in planning and realising solar power projects provided the foundation for the development of a smart power meter and software package destined to mid-sized power generation plants between 300 kW and several MW.

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best practice

The best business cases for diesel reduction with solar can normally be found in remote locations because these sites are often not connected to the grid and transport of diesel over long distances is expensive. However, the same applies to Nigerian urban environments, where the grid is not stable and diesel prices are wildly fluctuating.

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