Mini-Grids: 7 things you should know

Here are 7 things you should know about mini-grids.

What is a mini-grid?

  • According to the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, mini-grid means an integrated local generation and distribution system with an installed capacity below 1MW, capable of serving numerous end‐users independent of the national grid.
  • That simply means mini-grid consists of an isolated electricity generation source that distributes power over a network (grid lines) to a localised group of people.
A Mini-Grid in Abuja powered by Solar PV Modules

What are the components of mini-grids?

Most mini-grids have basic components namely: 1. Generation 2. Distribution

  • The generation consists of various methods of generating power. This could be done using solar PV modules, Wind turbines, Hydropower systems, Biomass, Geothermal or diesel-powered generators.
  • Generation could also include a mix of two power sources either renewable or non-renewable thereby making it a hybrid system. In addition, the generation phase includes inverters and energy storage systems (batteries) amongst other necessary things.
  • Distribution phase is simply about how power generated gets to the end user through grid lines, smart meters, household wiring etc.

It is believed that a mini-grid is one of the cost-effective means of improving energy access to people that are not connected to the main grid. Did you know that mini-grids can either be isolated from or interconnected with the grid?

  • An Isolated Mini-grid is one that is completely independent of the national grid. Therefore, an isolated mini-grid is an off-grid network.
  • An Interconnected Mini-grid is also a small scale electricity network, but it is connected to the main grid in such a way that an exchange of energy is possible either through net metering or feed-in tariffs.

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