| Nov 13, 2017
Microgrid Building Skills - House by House
Wiring up customer buildings!
Hello again everyone!
It's springtime in Lesotho, and the team is incredibly excited to send some updated photographs of progress at Ha Makebe as the microgrid distribution infrastructure gets plugged in to the individual customer buildings and we finalize the power generation component. As you saw in my last update, our team has been learning a ton this year, with tutelage from partners at PowerConsult (who built the PV system for the Lesotho airport and who has also done grid extension work in the country), and it is so satisfying to see this knowledge coming to life right away in Ha Makebe.
I believe I have mentioned in the past that many of our customers-to-be in Makebe already have their buildings wired internally (the village was expecting to be connected to the main grid several years back – a project that unfortunately never materialized). As such, our team has been able to make the building connections relatively easily: for each household, we add a commercial “readyboard” (essentially a circuit breaker box that also has a few outlets integrated), a smart meter (to measure and bill electricity usage), a grounding rod (Lesotho is one of the lightning capitals of the world!), and the wires up to the distribution grid.
In parallel, in anticipation of rapid customer growth, we have doubled our generation capacity ahead of installation – you’ll see in the images our new extra-capacity PV tracker system. We are in final validation of the new system at ATS and planning to have this out to the village in the next few months! Correspondingly, we grew the storage capacity. Our team put together a cool new design for storage of the batteries (informed by the inconvenience of some of the battery storage systems we saw earlier this year during our health clinic evaluations): batteries are installed on sliding trays on each level, enabling removal of a subset of the batteries should any maintenance be required. (You’ll see the team welding together the frame in the pictures.)
We are looking forward to sending you more photos as these move out to Makebe, and would love to hear from any of you if there are parts of the project you’d like to see more photos of in coming updates! And as always, I would like to end with a note of gratitude, for the enthusiasm and interest all of you continue to send my way each time I have the opportunity to speak with you about our work. With best wishes for the upcoming holidays, from the whole STG team.
Extra capacity PV tracker system
Welding the larger, easy-access battery box.