Solar plus storage system installed at wildlife conservancy in Kenya

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To complement the environmental work already done at the Loisaba Conservancy in Kenya, the organization has now had a solar plus storage off-grid microgrid installed, which will greatly reduce the carbon emissions at the facility. It is an exciting time for off-grid solar in Africa, as the technology is becoming a cheap and reliable source of energy in areas that are not connected to a grid.

There are two independent systems, which were funded, designed, installed, and integrated by SolarAfrica, each with 106kWh of batteries supplied by Aquion Energy and a 37 kW solar array, at the site. The Loisaba Conservancy is described as a “hub for wildlife research and a world-class ecotourism destination,” and will now be able to reduce its diesel consumption by 95%.

“Loisaba comprises 56,000 acres of pristine lands, populated by hundreds of animal species and enjoyed by thousands of visitors and guests each year,” said Loisaba Conservatory CEO Tom Silvester. “The use of Aquion saltwater batteries in tandem with SolarAfrica’s solar powered solutions is perfectly aligned with our approach to preserving nature, enabling us to generate power from the sun and store it for later use.”

It is the first time that Aquion’s Aqueous Hybrid Ion technology has been deployed in Africa, and the company was proud to announce that it has a “unique and environmentally friendly electrochemical design.” Additionally, using this microgrid will be significantly cheaper for the conservancy than running the diesel generators.

“Thanks to the Aquion batteries and the solar power system, Loisaba expects to reduce diesel consumption by 95% and save 53 tons of CO2 per year,” commented Aquion Energy Chief Commercial Officer Tim Poor. “Due to their safe, robust, and environmentally friendly chemistry, Aquion batteries, in combination with solar power, provide optimal performance in this challenging off-grid location.”

It’s an exciting time for off grid solar in Africa, and especially in Kenya, as German off-grid provider Mobisol told pv magazine recently that it will begin selling its systems in Kenya soon. The company recently reached an impressive landmark in the continent, by installing its 50,000th system, which saw its systems reach over 250,000 people in Africa.

Off grid solar has really taken off in Africa, as it becomes more practical and affordable, which in turn is offering rural communities a reliable source of electricity. July’s edition of pv magazine has an in-depth analysis of the off-grid market in Africa, with exclusive access to four of the biggest companies. You can subscribe here.