Solar power. N/A  N/A



Study for costs reduction of PV-based rural electrification

Country : OTHERS. .
Client : European Union .
Start Date : 1999
Completion Date : 2000
Value of services : N/C
Funder : European Union .
Associate/Partner : APEX - FGH ISI
Description :
Basic power needs in villages and rural settings, is currently the fastest growing market for PV applications, at a rate above 20% per year, shared between highly engineered (and expensive) products and locally engineered PV systems. Beyond the issue of the initial investment cost, achieving large scale market penetration also implies reducing system cost over the system lifetime by ensuring availability of reliable and appropriate Balance of System Components (BOS : batteries, charge controllers, small inverters and the appliances themselves) which generally represent at least 80% of system cost over its lifetime.
Description of the Actual Services Provided The concept of the ALERT consortium is:
* to develop an improved charge controller using the CMS technology with a micro controller, that can sustain charge – discharge patterns of poor quality batteries, and is in a box which is user friendly for dwellers of remote rural areas and tamper proof. With this product, the SME co-ordinator expects to multiply his market penetration (from 2000 to 10 000 units / year);
* to specify an electronic ballast : the target price is ECU 15. There are no products currently available on the market and specially designed for PV applications. Products available vary between ECU 20 and ECU 40 ;
* to specify a small inverter (100 to 200 W) suited to the daily needs of small scale PV systems in remote rural areas. The only products available are designed for occasional use with, as a consequence, a very low life duration if used on a daily basis ;
* to develop a franchised package comprising : equipment for local assembly of small 10 W PV modules that can be produced in a small workshop, with an investment cost less than ECU 20 000 which can be franchised to developing country entrepreneurs.
The project complies with the scope and objectives of the programme by reinforcing the cost-effectiveness and the overall quality of service which renewable energy technologies can provide to end users. It will also contribute to meet the basic electric power needs in village and rural settings.
The consortium, comprising two UK and two French SMEs of which two are system integrators and manufacturers and two engineering firms with strong partnerships in developing countries have the capability of moving the products developed in collaboration with a specialised German institute from the prototype stage to market testing and full scale industrialisation and commercialisation.