29 April 2018 – Zero Point Energy (ZPE) has been appointed as turn-key engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor by a leading Southern African socio-welfare and educational NPO organisation to design, engineer and install a pilot off-grid solar PV + battery storage project for a rural community centre in Gauteng, SA. Off-grid solar PV applications are electricity systems designed to help people function in the absence of utility grid infrastructure, using electricity generation sources such as renewable solar PV, stored in batteries and distributed via a localised electricity “microgrid“. The community centre currently supports the community through provision of a multi-purpose hall, prayer room, ablution facilities, kitchen, soccer court, jungle gym, class room, living quarters, a vegetable garden that employs 9 women, and in future will house a mobile clinic, library, training facility, internet hotspot and tuition centre, all aimed at uplifting the local community.
The technical system that has been engineered is to include 10x Tier 1 solar PV panels, 16x long-storage solar batteries, a 25 degree fixed tilt mounting structure, off-grid battery charger/inverter scheme and a solar PV MPPT charger controller with all associated AC & DC local & remote monitoring & control, metering and protection systems. The project also includes the design and installation of the total micro-grid electricity infrastructure including distribution boards, wiring, internal lighting fixtures, switches, socket outlets, outdoor flood-lights and all associated reticulation and protection. Provision of energy efficient LEDs, solar water heating with gas back-up, and water efficient faucets are also part of ZPE’s scope of design and supply. To future proof the centre, design also factors in the opportunity to increase battery storage capacity and to easily integrate a diesel generator and/or municipal grid interconnection should it become possible.
The ZPE team has been working closely with the local community centre leadership to understand their site-specific requirements, in order to translate their specific energy and hot water loading profiles into an optimally designed system that will balance the techno-economic trade-offs to ensure maximum project value. While every engineering project is unique, the ZPE team is drawing on its experience in sustainable design and energy efficiency to ensure a least-cost fit-for-purpose solution that can lead to a sustainable, modular and future-proof solution that can be rolled out by their NPO client across Southern Africa for the benefit of other remote or rural communities. More details to follow as the project progresses. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for any further queries.
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