How Does an Off-Grid Station Work?

In many regions of Africa, including Chad, access to electricity is a major issue affecting the quality of life, particularly in isolated areas. To address this problem, off-grid stations can help populations meet their primary electricity needs. Let’s delve into the details.

What Is an Isolated Area?

To begin with, what do we mean by “isolated area”? An isolated area is one that is not connected to a public electrical grid. While such sites can be found in Europe (like refuges or ecological sites), they are relatively rare. In Africa, however, this situation is much more common, with entire towns sometimes lacking electricity.

Typically, these sites rely on generators, but fuel is very expensive and using generators is unpleasant due to noise, smell, and frequent breakdowns.

How Does an Off-Grid Station Work?

An off-grid station is a standalone electrical system that operates without being connected to the main electrical grid. This type of system is often used in remote locations where access to electricity is limited or nonexistent. In Africa, where many rural areas are not connected to the grid, off-grid stations are becoming increasingly common.

The operation of an off-grid station is quite simple. It uses either generators, which are expensive, polluting, and unpleasant to use, or increasingly, solar panels to generate energy, which is stored in batteries for later use. In this article, we will assume the station is powered by solar panels.

Solar panels are usually installed on the roof of a building or in a location that receives maximum sun exposure. These panels convert solar energy into electricity, which is then stored in batteries.

The batteries store the energy produced by the solar panels during the day when production is highest. This stored energy is used to power electrical equipment at night when solar production is reduced or nonexistent.

For an off-grid station in Africa, it is crucial to choose the right components to ensure optimal reliability and durability. The solar panels must withstand extreme weather conditions, including strong winds and sandstorms. The batteries must be robust enough to handle temperature fluctuations and harsh environments. Charge controllers and inverters must also be carefully selected to ensure efficient energy management.

In summary, the operation of an off-grid station in isolated sites in Africa involves using solar panels to produce energy, batteries to store this energy, and electronic equipment to manage the energy produced. This type of system is a practical and economical solution for providing electricity in places where access to the grid is limited or nonexistent.

The Case of Batrica

At Batrica, we install solar-powered off-grid stations in areas without access to the electrical grid.

Each station consists of 300 Lithium-Ion batteries, each with 50 Wh capacity. The batteries are charged by solar energy and, once full, rented out to users without commitment for 24 hours.

The charged batteries are then distributed by agents and made available to users. An agent collects the battery after 24 hours to recharge it and start a new usage cycle.

The batteries provide energy to households and businesses and are pre-charged at the stations. The battery can meet basic electrical needs and some slightly more energy-intensive appliances.

For more information, feel free to contact us!


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