A minigrid is a renewable energy system of electricity generation that is usually about 10KW and above. It is usually set to target its electricity supply to households, commercial and industrial setups etc. through Public Distribution Network (PDN).
What then is a Microgrid?
A microgrid is also a renewable energy system. However, its power generation capacity is below 10KW. But is this the only difference between minigrid and microgrid? Let’s find out below.
A minigrid generation can be powered by renewable energy sources such as solar, biomass, wind, small, hydro, and including a diesel-based generator to serve as back-up. The hybrid systems use a combination of sources like solar-wind, solar-biomass, solar-hydro etc. for the purpose of improved reliability.
How Minigrid Works
The Public Distribution Network (PDN) of a minigrid has the option of carrying either the Direct Current (DC0 or Alternating Current (AC). To the other forms of renewable energy such as wind, hydro, etc., the AC is basic. While the DC is generated by solar photovoltaic (PV). The decision as to whether to choose AC or DC is greatly influenced by the cost or budget of the project, appliances to be used and interconnection conditions. If the appliances are low power required such as lighting, radio, mobile phone, fans, television, etc., the DC distribution is acceptable. On the other hand, AC distribution supports high power appliances and can interconnect with the grid. One other possible thing is that both AC and DC can be used in minigrids. Where the loads are put tightly to each other, DC microgrids is recommended. Below are the recommended levels:
DC Micro grids:-
24 V DC up to 1 kWp
72 V DC above 1 kWp to 10 kWp
AC Micro grids:-
220 V single phase – up to 10 kWp
440 V 3 Phase – beyond 10 kWp
Target Beneficiaries of Minigrid
Find below the various categories of a minigrid power system:
- Households – lighting, mobile charging, TVs, fan and other appliances etc.
- Agriculture – irrigation pumps
- Commercial – shops, telecom towers, ice-makers, battery/ lantern charging and renting etc.
- Productive – milling, rice de-husking, wood/ metal workshops, foundry, small
- Micro industry, village industry, attachakki.
- Social institutions – schools, medical centres, public buildings, community buildings.
- Government or Panchayat Offices.
- Municipal Functions – Street Lights.
Also read: the potential of solar power in Nigeria
A lot of benefits have been associated with minigrid. Here, we shall just point out a few below:
- Increased Reliability of electricity supply.
- Environmental improvement since minigrid solar system is a renewable or clean energy.
- Savings on power in the long-run since there is no recurrent power bills or repair expenses as the case of diesel/fuel-based generators.
- The grid projects are mostly situated in very local areas where national grid electricity is not present but there are available industries with power needs.
Here at Vesselnet Solar, we have the best team to handle your any of your solar energy project. You can also contact us about your energy requirement and we will be able to recommend for you your most suitable plan.
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