Category Archives: Analytical

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Integration of utility-scale solar PV in Africa

Simplified utility solar farm

Simplified utility solar farm

I have written an article entitled Design considerations for utility solar farms in Zimbabwe that was published on on June 1st 2016. Judging from the feedback I received from colleagues, there is need for African technical professionals to analyse some of the large solar PV projects on the continent. I have put together a short list of articles that are descriptive of the challenges faced in installing utility solar PV plants in Africa. I do recognize that there are many factors (political factors being the majority) that determine the success or failure of large solar PV power plants in Africa, I choose to address the technical side of things only.

  1. Snakes and ladders: Inside East and West Africa’s largest solar plant – this is great article that details every-day challenges experienced by the owners/operators of a 20 MW utility-scale solar PV farm in Ghana.
  2. Green Economy and Trade Trends, Challenges and Opportunities
    1. GE-TOP Ghana Strategy Proposal – insightful perspectives on the integration of renewable energy in the national grid. Ghana already exports up to 5% of locally generated power; the objective of this project is to enable Ghana to export renewable energy.
    2. Ghana Solar Export Potential Study
  3. Harnessing Variable Renewables – A Guide to the Balancing Challenge – the article describes some of the challenges I raised in my TechZim article on the integration of solar PV in the grid.
  4. Winds of change – electricity transmission and distribution infrastructure can be a stumbling block to the integration of large-scale solar plants even in relatively more modern and well-maintained grids.

    … Therefore distribution system operators (DSOs) will have to become much more involved in real-time distribution system operation, making use of innovative solutions such as smart metering, voltage control, power flow management, dynamic circuit ratings, and energy storage technologies …

  5. Solar and Off-grid Renewables West Africa – some great strides in the off-grid sector.
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