What are the components of a mini-grid?

What makes up a mini-grid?

Our last article explained mini-grids and why they are considered for off-grid rural communities. This article would highlight the components of a mini-grid. 

A mini-grid will have three major parts namely – Generation, Distribution and Customer connection. We briefly explain these below:

Generation

Power can be generated using different sources such as coal, gas or clean renewable energy sources such as water, wind, sun or biomass. Power generation in mini-grids can be from one energy source or a combination of sources. Equipment involved in mini-grid power generation could include diesel generators, solar PV modules, wind turbines, biomass-powered generators, hydropower systems and geothermal-powered generators.

Distribution

The distribution components are equipment that are used to get power from the generation components to the end-users. Some of these include distribution poles (concrete or wooden or steel), distribution lines (cables), smart prepaid meters and other electrical components. 

Customer Connection (End-User)

Before a mini-grid is deployed to a community, the proposed users would have been identified. These users could be:

1. Residential Users: These are people who will use the electricity in their homes to power basic household appliances.

2. Commercial Users: These are the owners of small or medium scale businesses. Examples are hair salons, provision stores,  restaurants, tailoring shops, pharmacies etc within the community.

3. Productive Users: These are users that require power supply for the production or processing of items. USAID defines productive use as an activity that uses energy to earn income or generate other non-leisure benefits. Common productive uses of energy include agricultural processing, lighting for businesses and water pumping. Examples include palm oil processing plants, bakeries, milling shops, welding, pure water factories etc.

4. Social Institutions: These include religious, health, educational institutions within the community.

5. Anchor Customers: These may include telecommunication base stations

For the end-users, smart meters are used to facilitate billing and monitoring of the system.

What more would you like to know about mini-grids? Click HERE to let us know.


You may also read

Why Mini-Grids?
At what point should deploying mini-grids be your option?
World Bank Delegation visits Havenhill’s Solar Mini-Grid in Kigbe, Abuja


 



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