Eaton Helps Power Africa’s Largest Microgrid Project

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Eaton is providing electrical engineering services and power distribution equipment for the construction of a 5-megawatt (MW) solar microgrid system in Annobon Province.

Power management company Eaton is providing electrical engineering services and power distribution equipment for the construction of a 5-megawatt (MW) solar microgrid system in Annobon Province, an island off Equatorial Guinea in West Central Africa.

The Eaton microgrid has battery storage and is designed to supply reliable and predictable power to meet the off-grid community’s energy demand. It will be the largest self-sufficient solar microgrid project in Africa.

The project is a part of Equatorial Guinea’s National Economic Development Plan Horizon 2020, which aims to strengthen Equatorial Guinea’s economy and accelerate its development through the implementation of world-class electrical infrastructure.

Eaton was contracted to optimize the electrical power distribution equipment for the project by MAECI Solar, a division of Management and Economics Consulting. MAECI is collaborating with Wise Power Systems International to provide solar design, engineering and custom manufacturing of double glass modules and racking with full microgrid system integration for the Annobon Electrification Project.

“We are extremely excited to bring this solar microgrid solution to Annobon Island to help raise the quality of life for the people and bring world class decentralized electrical grid solutions to Equatorial Guinea and Africa,” said William Rawheiser, president of Wise Power Systems International. “The Annobon Electrification Project will bring a much needed stable, reliable, and consistent power supply to the island, and enable the development of multiple industries, bringing valuable jobs and significantly raising the standard of living.”

The Annobon Province currently relies on generators for periods of reliable electricity up to five hours per day. Residents spend an average of 15 to 20 percent of their income on supplemental power. The solar microgrid in development is engineered to eliminate this expense by providing clean, reliable and sustainable solar electricity 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“Connecting a remote community to the conventional power grid is expensive and can take years,” Frank Campbell, president, Electrical Sector, EMEA, Eaton. “The modern microgrid being applied in the Annobon Province will serve as a model for bringing reliable and cost-effective electrical power to other remote communities, helping to advance their economies and quality of life.”

Eaton is providing switchgear assemblies, circuit protection devices and power transformers to support reliable power distribution across the island. The Eaton equipment includes embedded communications capabilities to easily integrate with microgrid energy storage components and intelligently manage demand to support an adaptable, secure and responsive infrastructure. To further enhance system reliability, safety and security, Eaton’s engineering experts are contracted to provide support ranging from installation to commissioning and system testing of Eaton’s equipment.

— Solar Builder magazine

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