BayWa R.e. Commissions First PV Plant With A Battery System In Zambia


With the
initial commissioning of a combined photovoltaic plant and battery system in
the Zambian province of Chisamba, BayWa r.e. has successfully completed the
first pilot project in southern Africa. This makes the Agricultural Knowledge
& Training Centre (AKTC) operated by the German and Zambian Ministry of
Agriculture even more independent from the volatile power supply in Zambia. The
plant supplies the farm for up to thirteen hours per day with 450 kWh of
renewable energy for the irrigation of the agricultural land in the area. This
equals the consumption of 150 litres of diesel fuel per day and the emission of
145 tonnes of CO2 per year.

“We are really happy to
have successfully completed our first project in Africa,"
comments Christof Thannbichler, Managing
Director of BayWa r.e. Solar Projects GmbH. “Based
on our years of experience in project planning in the PV sector, we see great
potential in the entire region for the implementation of further weak and
off-grid projects. We are going to significantly expand our activity on the
African continent and already have further projects in development."

The pilot plant on the premises
of the AKTC farm consists of 260 solar modules erected in an east-west
orientation with a total capacity of 86 kWp. They supply energy for the
irrigation of a 90,000 m2 grain field. If more energy is generated than can be
consumed immediately, it is stored temporarily in a 160 kWh battery
storage system. Thanks to an intelligent control system for precise pump
control, the water reservoir also serves as additional storage. With the
battery and water storage the AKTC farm is supplied with PV power continuously
from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm. During this time it operates independently of the
public grid. The farm is only re-connected to the grid at nighttime.

“It is precisely in the
tropical and subtropical regions of the globe where farmers are dependent on
reliable and uninterrupted power supply for the irrigation of their fields,"
explains Tobias Kriete, Regional
Manager Africa at BayWa r.e. Solar Projects GmbH. “With intelligently designed weak grid solutions like our
PV battery storage system, we can supply operations with reliably and
sustainably produced energy, independent of their connection to the public
grid. This not only increases the productivity of processes but also
contributes to a significant improvement in their ecological assessment."

As a general contractor, BayWa
r.e. was responsible for the planning, financing, installation and turn-key
hand-over of the PV plant in Zambia. In the future, the company will also
assume technical operations management of the plant. In addition to continuous
monitoring of the systems remotely from Germany, BayWa r.e. also helps to train
the farmers on location, so that they can take over the routine servicing of
the plant together with local electricians in the future.

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