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Nano Solar Gird

 

Nano Solar Girds 

Nano grids are small micro grids, typically serving a single building or a single power load. They are from 3 kW for remote systems not interconnected to a utility grid and 100 kW  for grid-tied systems.

For many places without reliable power or without connection to conventional power grids these Nano grids act as stop gap.

Nano grids do not challenge power utility companies and are restricted to a single building or a single power load, and therefore are not affected by regulations prohibiting the transfer or sharing of power across a public right-of-way. 

I know of a community which was not connected to the national grid and the community contributed to purchase transformers, poles, cables and other materials required for the connected to the grid. This costs millions of Naira, and 4 years after they are still not connected to the grid. Even being connected to the grid does not guarantee power supply 24/7.

Nigeria has installed power generating capacity of 11.5GW. However around 4GW are technically available on average throughout the year to generate electricity. 11.9% of this capacity is generated from large hydro, while 0.6% from small hydro and 87.5% from fossil fuels.

The combined power generation for the country was 6.803GW as at August 2017.  There are many challenges to generation and distribution, which will continue to require a range of solutions.

Saudi Arabia, a top oil producer intends to source at least 10GW of electricity from solar and wind by 2023, in order to conserve oil for exports. The amount of power being generated by solar continues to increase.  Top energy consumers are on a race to see how much they can increase the solar mix in their energy consumption. No doubt solar is the way to go.

Communities are building solar farms; an example is The Westmill Solar Park in Oxfordshire England, believed to be the largest community-owned solar power station in the world, with capacity of 5MW.

 

A major telecoms operator has partnered with a company to solve a challenge for its customers. I am sure they calculated loss of revenue due to phones not being charged.  They can only make money when phones are charged and reachable. The solution is only meant for small power requirements, like phones, fans, radios and a few light bulbs. It really can’t handle heavy items which require more than 100watts. There are various initiatives by state governments to power Schools, Health centres, and street light. These have improved the standard of living in the states.   

A Nano grid today might not be able to carry the full load of the building, but it would carry 30-40% of the load. Nano grid usually comprises of solar panels, batteries, charge controller, Inverter and smart monitors. The smart monitor would tell you how much your system is generating and how much you are using. It saves the data over a period. Each panel can be monitored so you will know which panels are producing optimally and which are not. Data can be reviewed when required. The system is expandable and you can increase your panels as the need arises. 

Advantages of Nano Solar Girds 

Reduced Electricity Bills

Nano solar grids will drop the energy bills of the building or home, what you are able to save will be dependent on the size of the solar system and your electricity usage. Things like water pump and freezers can all be configured to work on the solar installation during the day, so you can use the energy directly from the sun and not from the batteries.

Low Maintenance Costs

Solar energy systems generally don’t require a lot of maintenance. You only need to keep them relatively clean, so cleaning them a couple of times per year will do the job. Most solar panel manufacturers give 20years warranty and there are no moving parts, no wear and tear. The inverter and controller might need to be changed after 5-10years; this is because they are continuously working to convert solar energy into electricity. After covering the initial cost of the solar system, you can expect very little spending on maintenance and repair work. Unlike the generator which requires monthly or quarterly servicing and ongoing fuel cost.

Technology Development

Technology in the solar power is advancing and improving and we will see effectiveness of solar panels double, or even triple in a few years, making solar power a major power source.  As technology improves and matures, cost ultimately comes down.

Associated Pollution

Pollution related to solar energy systems is far less compared to other sources of energy, like generators.

Disadvantages of Nano Solar Grids  

Cost

Nano Solar grids are capital projects; initial cost of purchasing a solar system is relatively high (cost of solar panels, inverter, batteries, Controller, wiring and installation) compared to the cost of equivalent 3-5kwa generator. Nevertheless, solar technologies are constantly developing, so it is safe to assume that prices will continue to come down in the future.

Expensive Storage 

Solar energy has to be used directly eg solar system connected to water pump or freezer or it can be stored in large batteries. These batteries, used in off-the-grid solar systems, can be charged during the day so that the energy is used at night. This is a good solution for using solar energy all day long but it is also quite expensive, our energy demand is usually higher during the day so we can meet most of it with solar energy. Calculating the energy requirement during the day and night will help you know what your requirements are and how much energy you need to store. 

Weather Dependent

In Nigeria we have close to 9 months of good sunlight, and 3 months of cloudy and rainy days. Although solar energy can still be collected during cloudy and rainy days, the efficiency of the solar system drops. Solar panels are dependent on sunlight to effectively gather solar energy. Therefore, a few cloudy, rainy days can have a noticeable effect on the energy system. You should also take into account that solar energy cannot be collected during the night. During the rainy season the Nano grids would have to be complemented with other energy sources.

 

3RT Solutions is a provider of intelligent security intrusion detection systems, combining field proven technologies and products. We are system integrator with a global outlook and a local touch, offering monitoring, precise detection and tracking of unauthorized access for critical infrastructure and high value assets against threats vandalism and sabotage.  

 

 

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