Off-Grid Energy Projects
The initial focus of our “off-grid” strategy is to bring power to isolated, rural communities in the Kilosa District, using a hybrid (biomass/solar photovoltaic “PV”) energy generation model. Kilosa is in an agriculturally rich area, where biomass feedstock in the form of agricultural waste, is readily available throughout the District. This makes waste-to-energy power generation very feasible. A ‘Solar Insolation Study’ undertaken by the Company indicates the Kilosa District has solar intensity similar to Miami, Florida. Consequently, our hybrid biomass/solar PV strategy for village scale projects in the District is both viable and sustainable.
To gain specialized expertise in the small-scale, biomass, waste-to-energy area, we established a joint venture with Husk Power Systems of India. Husk is a recognized market leader in delivering small-scale biomass solutions, to rural communities in India. Husk has over seven years of experience with biomass electricity generation technology and has already installed over 100 small-scale biomass electricity systems. Our pilot facility using the Husk System was installed to validate the technology for use in the Kilosa District. The equipment was successfully tested and found to be adequate for the project.
Hybrid Mini-Grid – Biomass Test Facility
Solar PV/Biomass Hybrid – ‘Husk Biomass System’ Test Location
The first group of villages to be electrified is in the ‘Zombo Cluster’ (Zombo, Nyali, and Madumezi). These sites will be used as our pilot projects; which will enable us to develop, refine, and improve our delivery capability as we expand our operations in the Kilosa District.
The first facility will electrify approximately 400 residential and 20 to 30 commercial customers and generate approximately 50 kilovolts of power. At full capacity the Zombo Cluster (3 sites) is expected to require 100 – 150 kilovolts of capacity and electrify 1,000 to 1,500 residential and small business customers. The first power is expected to be delivered in the Second Half of 2016.
Along with our partners, the Kilosa District Council, Redavia, and Husk, we are currently engaged in a planning exercise to develop a launch schedule for the next 15 mini-grid locations in the Kilosa District.