Electric Microgrids

TTA has been a pioneer in executing renewable energy-based micro grids (100% or hybrid with other non renewable sources) and energy efficiency, both in concept development, design, engineering and implementation, as well as, at the promotion, dissemination and training. At the forefront, TTA played a key role in developing the first microgrids' projects in Spain in the early 90’s, which since then have been followed by projects executed in Latin America, Africa and the Mediterranean. TTA has been recognized as a reference in this sector.

TTA is an active member in several organizations and international technological European committees. Among other, TTA has participated in the Expert Meetings of “Task 3: Use of photovoltaic power systems in stand-alone and island applications” “Task 11 – PV Hybrid Systems within Mini-grids” under the IEA’s PVPS programme, and in the Scientific Committee for the “European PV Hybrid and Mini-Grids” Conferences.


Solutions:

DISTRIBUTED GENERATION through renewable energies

ON-GRID (Micro plants with renewable energies connected to the grid)
  • Smart-grids and islanding
OFF-GRID (Autonomous micro plants with renewable energies)
  • Microgrids in isolated sites
- Planning and design
- Generation
- Conversion | Storage | Consumption
- Control | Management ­| Measuring

PROJECTS

Design, Supply, Installation, Operations & Management of Mini-Grids for Electrification in Selected Volta’s Lake Island Communities in Ghana

Ghana

GEDAP | Ghana Ministry of Power / Word Bank
2014 - 2018

The project, executed on a turn-key basis, called for the Design, Engineering, Supply, Construction, Installation, and Operations & Management services. The first of its kind in Ghana promoting renewable energy based mini-grids to play a key role in Ghana’s transition to a low-carbon economy while electrifying rural areas. Five mini grids in four communities at Volta’s Lake islands have been executed by TTA to provide access to modern electricity and enhancing income generating activities to a total population of around 3,500. With 100% photovoltaic generation and diesel gensets as back up and one with wind generation, the 5 mini grids were commissioned in the 2nd quarter 2016 and O&M services will be provided by TTA for two years until 2018.

The services included detailed user demand and willingness-to-pay analyses to accurately engineer the power plants, including additional capacity for short term demand increase and additional space for a future long term expansion. Furthermore, a business scheme has been designed to ensure sustainability. For the users/clients, a basic high efficient electricity installation and metering have been included as part of the project. Load management is ensured by the EDA concept (Energy Daily Allowance), controlled by an Electricity Dispenser. Local staff and users have been trained and are active in caretaking and supervision following O&M protocols and schedules.

Construction and Commissioning of Solar Photovoltaic Mini grids in Chad on a Turn-key basis

Chad

UNIDO | United Nations Industrial Development Services
2013 - 2016

This project was part of the program “Promoting renewable energy based mini-grids for rural electrification and productive uses” implemented by UNIDO and the Chadian Ministry of Oil and Energy. It seeks to reduce the institutional, technical and financial barriers that prevent the renewable energy market from growing in Chad, to demonstrate and develop enabling conditions for deployment, as well as improve access to modern electrical service through sustainable and replicable micro grid model.

TTA carried out on a turn-key basis 3 Solar Hybrid Microgrids of about 40 to 50 kWp, one in a small isolated village and 2 others in medium size locations and operation and maintenance services for 18 months following commissioning. The project included feasibility and socio-economic studies in the field to prioritize final users, aiming to optimize the impact on the communities’ development, as well as, to guarantee the maximum penetration of high quality electricity service. Also establishment of management and operational models and tariff scheme for economic sustainability; training and capacity building activities focused on local technical/administrative staff and final users throughout the project.

Monte Trigo’s Solar PV Microgrid “SESAM-ER” - Expansion in Cape Verde

Cabo Verde

EuropeAid – Comisión Europea
2014

Commissioned and in operation since February 2012, the SESAME-ER Microgrid has been providing electricity service through 100% PV generation to the Monte Trigo’s population in Cape Verde. To be highlighted, the purchase of ice makers that have allowed development of the islanders’ main economic activity, fishing. In February 2014, completed generation expansion allowed increasing the number of home users connected to the micro-grid.

2-year Operation: 100% RE | 55,6MWh Clean Energy | Reduction of: 16.299L of gasoil & 49Ton CO2 emissions

5-year Operation: 100% RE | 169MWh Solar Electricity | Reduction of: 49.465 L of diesel & 148 Ton of CO2 emissions

Access to sustainable electricity for rural communities on the island of Santo Antão through hybrid PV microgrids

Cabo Verde

EuropeAid – Comisión Europea
2008 - 2012


Monte Trigo is a small village, home to 60 families and 600 inhabitants, on the island of Santo Antão in the archipelago of Cape Verde. It is only accessible by boat from the nearby town of Tarrafal. The community’s livelihood relies on fishing, which due to a lack of freezers and ice, is not as developed as the village would like.

The SESAMER project, financed under the framework of the “ACP-EU Energy Facility” programme and conducted in consortium with local and international partners, included the electrification of the community using a Multi-user Microgrid with 100% PV generation (MSG). The existing generator will now only serve as back-up.

This microgrid provides 24-hour per day electricity of a comparable quality to that provided by a traditional distribution grid (230V, 50 Hz) and responds to the basic needs of lighting, communication and other services useful to the community, such as public lighting, and of utmost importance for ice production.

The PV installation is placed on a pergola built from treated wood, installed in the schoolyard. This solution was chosen in order to offer a space for recreation and games for the students and the rest of the population. The wood guarantees greater durability in a highly corrosive marine environment, and at the same time can be easily reused or recycled at the end of its useful life.

The system is based on a 27.3 kWp PV array. A DC-bus configuration was used with two independent batteries in parallel with a total capacity of 370 kWh. The system is controlled by a supervisory system that manages the MPPT charge regulators, and two inverters of 8kW each which, thanks to the smart supervisory system, can be connected in case of uneven discharge of the two batteries.

A distribution grid of about 800m connects the users, which include houses, a school, a day-care centre, a health centre, a communication centre which receives a digital television signal, and an ice production centre.

TTA, as the technical leader of the project, was responsible for carrying out all activities from the preliminary studies and design to the start-up and commissioning of the system, which took place in February 2012. TTA also supported the implementation phase of the service model, operator regulations and tariff study, based on the willingness-to-pay of the future users.

The services provided by TTA included:

  • Awareness-raising and training of final users.
  • Tariff study.
  • Start-up and commissioning.
  • Preparation of documentation for procurement of materials and the international tendering process.
  • Demand study.
  • Technical design of the installations and distribution grid.
  • Supervision of the implementation and installation of the PV system.
  • Creation of an energy service operator.
  • Capacity-building of technical and administrative personnel.
  • Dissemination.
As a result, the project fulfilled the following objectives:

  • Improve to 24-hour per day electricity access for rural fishermen on Santo Antão island, while ensuring environmental sustainability by generating electricity with renewable energy and reducing the supply of imported fuel for existing power generators.
  • Develop replicable operational schemes with a public-private partnership approach (public ownership and private operation and maintenance) to reach long-term sustainability through specially adapted tariffs.
  • Improve the social and economic development of the target community by providing affordable energy services for the conservation of fish and for lighting.
TTA offers a valuable contribution in responding to the challenges of this type of project. TTA has experience in developing regulation, supervision and control systems for these microgrids, which allow the provision of specific solutions tailored to the needs and characteristics of each case.

This project, in Monte Trigo, was designed and implemented as a modular solution, based on strategies specifically designed for generation management, battery charge and discharge control, and demand supervision and control. The systems implemented in this project have already been used in other projects.

More information, including details of the characteristics of these systems, can be found under the “Technological development – R & I” tab.

Rural Development in communities of Esmeraldas FOMDERES II “Pilot project of Rural Electrification and Water Infrastructure in the Community of Las Balsas, Ecuador”

Ecuador

SEBA | Servicios Energéticos Básicos Autónomos
2011 - 2012

The community of Las Balsas is located in the Mache-Chindul Ecological Reserve (REMACH). This ecological reserve is one of the 33 protected areas in Ecuador and preserves one of the last remaining tropical dry and wetlands of the Ecuadorian coast and worldwide.
In June 2011 and based on lessons learned from the experience acquired by TTA in the project executed other communities of Esmeraldas in Ye de 5º Piso, FOMDERES I (2005-07), the project in Las Balsas community was launched as part of FOMDERES II.

The project involved the implementation of a Solar Hybrid Microgrid (MGS) and various isolated solar photovoltaic micro-plants, a basic infrastructure for potable water and distribution of urban land. The technical solution has allowed the electrification for domestic and productive uses, as it has characteristics similar to those of a conventional line. The institutional and tariff model allows ensuring the long term service sustainability.

The PV power plant is integrated in a new building «La Casa de la Luz»,  designed as multiuse building for diverse activities in the community.  Besides, a training program was followed throughout the project for users, kids and technical operators (for the operation and basic maintenance) and administrative persons involved in tariffs’ collection and control.

Palestine: Rural electrification pilot project with a Solar Hybrid Generation Microgrid (MSG) in the Community of Emnazeil

West Bank

Asociación SEBA / fondos de la AECID | Agencia Española de Cooperación al Desarrollo
2008 - 2009


This project involved introducing infrastructure and a service management scheme for electricity provision to rural communities, using a multi-user solar hybrid microgrid (MSG) based on PV for the population centre. It also included the development of a unified tariff scheme and integration into the regional electricity concessionary framework.

TTA led the coordination of the consulting work and carried out the following activities:

  • Coordination and negotiation between various institutions: ERC, SEBA, CSC, the Community of Emnazeil, etc.
  • Project management.
  • Socio-economic study of demand and willingness-to-pay.
  • Feasibility study.
  • Development of a tariff scheme and regulation of the renewable energy-based electricity service.
  • Preparation of final design and technical supervision.
  • Social support, training and dissemination.

CRESMED – Cost-efficient and Reliable Rural Electrification Schemes for Southern Mediterranean Countries Based on Multi User Solar Hybrid Grids (Spain / France / Germany / Italy / Morocco / Algeria / Jordan / Lebanon)

Jordan

Programa FP6 de la Comisión Europea – Proyecto STREP
2006 - 2009


Rural electrification in Southern Mediterranean countries, mostly using solar home systems, only provides service for a limited number of devices (lights). This service, consisting of small installations, is not considered sufficient to stimulate new economic activities in rural areas. Fuel generators, also used, provide more electrical power, but imply greater maintenance costs, low fuel availability and most only offer a limited energy service of 6 to 14 hours per day. The solution to this problem is the use of hybrid systems using a mix of renewable energy and fossil fuels, and offering an energy service to the community through MSGs (Multi-user solar hybrid microgrids), which allow a 24-hour a day service. In Europe these types of installations have already been tried for rural electrification, but they must still be adapted to the different social, economic and environmental contexts of Southern Mediterranean countries.

The main strategic objectives of the project were:

  • Electricity produced through MSGs combining solar energy and other locally available energy resources in local microgrids.
  • Management tools to rationally operate a large number of MSGs in one region, through satellite and other communication technologies.
TTA provided the following services:

  • Overall coordination of the project.
  • Development of an organizational system, and design of the operational and maintenance structure, as well as of the tariff scheme.
  • Legal and institutional framework, tariff scheme.
  • Adaptation of the technology and improvement of the existing energy production system.
  • Joint responsibility for the implementation of the pilot project and field tests.

Activities to disseminate renewable energy sources in the North and Northeast of Brazil –Study of management models for mirogrids and home PV systems

Brazil

Privado en representación de Electrobrás-GTZ
2008

This project involved providing support to state distribution companies in the implementation of decentralised electricity management models in pilot projects using PV and small wind turbines.

Various models were analyzed according to organizational, technological and economic factors, and a field audit was conducted using a specialized selection and prioritization methodology. A tailored management model was recommended and designed and a presentation was given to the distribution companies.

Promotion of rural development in communities in Esmeraldas (FOMDERES) / Study and implementation of a micro PV installation and micro distribution grid in three communities in “Y” 5º Piso

Ecuador

SEBA | Servicios Energéticos Básicos Autónomos
2005 - 2007

This project involved introducing the infrastructure and service scheme necessities to provide electricity to 3 rural communities. The design was based on solar PV energy, with two distinct configurations: Multi-user Solar Hybrid grids (MSG) for area of concentrated population, and individual hybrid PV installations for dispersed populations. In addition, a unified tariff scheme was developed and integrated into the local electricity service concession scheme and into the national electricity regulation.

This project was a continuation of the model for comprehensive electricity access improvement for disadvantaged populations in Ecuador, introduced on Floreana Island (2000 – 2003). TTA provided the following services:

  • Coordination and inter-institutional negotiations: ACCD, MEM, CONELEC, CENACE, utilities, Junta Parroquial (Village Council), etc.
  • Coordination of project implementation.
  • Socio-economic study of demand and willingness-to-pay.
  • Technical and economic feasibility study.
  • Development of a tariff scheme and regulations for the renewable energy-based electricity service.
  • Preparation of final design and technical management of construction works.
  • Social support, training and dissemination.

Rural Electrification with Multi-user Solar hybrid Microgrids (MSG) in the village of Akane

Morocco

Fundación IPADE
2004 - 2005

Akane is a rural community in Chefchaouen province which, according to the Office Nationale d’Electricité’s (ONE) rural electrification plans, was at the time not due to be electrified in the next ten years. This project involved the electrification of a community of 24 families and around 120 people, through Multi-user solar hybrid grids (MSGs). The MSG system gave the community installations that provide electricity for domestic consumption as well as social and collective consumption (school, mosque, public lighting, café, shops) and also for productive uses (water pumping, grain mill, oil press, arts and crafts etc.) promoted during the project.

TTA provided design and technical management services for the project and construction works in collaboration with local technicians, and coordinated the procurement of equipment: TTA designed the monitoring and evaluation process, the recording and analysis of technical data, as well as the design and execution of the training plan.

In addition, the project involved the development of infrastructure, which included a new access road, the distribution network, the construction of a building (“House of Light”- Dardou), as well as the training programme and technology transfer.


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