World’s largest off-grid battery system headed to Rwanda

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With energy storage looking like it will be able to solve a lot of electricity headaches, German company Tesvolt has raised the bar for off-grid systems, by agreeing to supply the world’s largest off-grid battery system to Rwanda. It will be used as a mini-grid during power cuts, which are common in Rwanda.

Tesvolt signed the contract to supply the decentralized system to an agricultural project in Rwanda’s Eastern Province. It will be used to create a mini-grid, during power cuts, to supply 44 water pumps. The array is made up of 134 lithium storage systems, with a combined capacity of 2.68 MWh.

The system will be connected to a 3.3 MW solar plant, which is being engineered and constructed by IdeemaSun energy, and will allow the PV plant to continue running through power cuts, which are very common in this region.

“In Rwanda, the power supply fails three or four times a day for between 5 and 45 minutes,” explained Simon Schandert, Director of Engineering at Tesvolt. “For this reason, an important criterion in the call for tender was that the storage system is able to absorb electricity from the 3.3 MW PV power plant and release it again as quickly as possible. Only very powerful off-grid storage systems can supply the necessary emergency power several times per day, and there are only a few storage systems on the market which meet these requirements.”

Tesvolt’s state-of-the-art system has battery management monitors on every cell, so that damaged cell can be identified, and then exchanged, before they completely fail. The company will be unveiling their storage systems at this year’s Intersolar Europe in Munich, Germany later in the month.

News of the huge off-grid system comes a day after Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) released a report forecasting a huge growth in the global energy storage market. The report projects that the market will reach $250 billion by 2040.