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The burden of shading and location on the sustainability of South African solar home system program
Mälardalen University, School of Business, Society and Engineering, Future Energy Center.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3449-2253
Mälardalen University, School of Business, Society and Engineering, Future Energy Center.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2189-0105
Mälardalen University, School of Business, Society and Engineering, Future Energy Center.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4589-7045
Mälardalen University, School of Business, Society and Engineering, Future Energy Center.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8604-9299
2015 (English)In: Energy Procedia, ISSN 1876-6102, E-ISSN 1876-6102, Vol. 75, 308-313 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Most contributions on the issues of sustainability of rural electrification projects have focused on the technology and business models used to drive the projects. The issues of user education and environmental impact on the technology have received little attention, despite the fact that these challenges affect lives of projects after commissioning. The usage pattern of solar home systems (SHS) by most users that placed their solar panels close to obstructing objects, results in shading of the panels, and geographic location of households in the concession areas of the South African SHS program affects the performances of the system. The non-optimal use of SHS is mainly due to lack of user education. Therefore this paper reports on the impact of geographic location and shading of panels on the economics and technical performance of SHS. The study was done by investigating the performance of 75 WP solar panels operated at two sites in South Africa (Upington in Northern Cape Province and Thlatlaganya in Limpopo Province), the performance of an optimized shaded SHS and a non-shaded one was also investigated. The results show that both geographic location and shading compromise the performance of the systems, the energy output of a solar panel located at Upington is increased by 19% and the state of charge of the battery (SOC) increased by 6%, compared to the panel situated at Thlatlaganya village. Also the life span of the battery is increased by about one year. The SOC of the partially shaded SHS is reduced by 22% and loss of power to the load increased by 20%. The geographical location of the SHS concession areas in South Africa and lack of adherence to the manufacturer's installation specification affects the economics of SHS and the energy output vis-a-vis the sustainability of the program due to reduction in life cycle of the batteries. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 75, 308-313 p.
National Category
Energy Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-29320DOI: 10.1016/j.egypro.2015.07.360ISI: 000361030000048Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84947062290OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-29320DiVA: diva2:861086
Conference
7th International Conference on Applied Energy (ICAE), MAR 28-31, 2015, Abu Dhabi, U ARAB EMIRATES
Available from: 2015-10-15 Created: 2015-10-15 Last updated: 2017-12-01Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Sustainability and development impacts of off-grid electrification in developing countries: An assessment of South Africa's rural electrification program
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Sustainability and development impacts of off-grid electrification in developing countries: An assessment of South Africa's rural electrification program
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[sv]
Hållbarhet och utvecklingseffekter av off-grid elektrifiering i utvecklingsländer : En bedömning av Sydafrikas elektrifiering av landsbygden programmet
Abstract [en]

Previous studies have shown that provision of sustainable electricity supply to rural households is essential to bring development to off-grid populations. For this reason, most developing countries put large efforts into rural electrification programs to stimulate development and reduce poverty. However, to be sustainable these programs need to recover costs, which poses a challenge to remote low income populations.  This often forces governments and other institutions involved in rural electrification to subsidize the electricity production. It also affects the choice of technology and places a barrier on the level of energy provided in line with the ability to pay for services. As a result of this, most programs have failed to achieve the desired objectives, as the technologies used often do not support income generating activities that could increase the payment capabilities of the beneficiaries and contribute to development.

This thesis is focused on the rural electrification program of South Africa, the country in sub-Saharan Africa that has the highest access to electricity. It investigates the success elements that influence the sustainability of rural electrification programs and their contributions to socio-economic development. This was achieved by evaluating the South African program that provides solar home systems to off-grid communities, and a hybrid solar-wind mini-grid project in South Africa. The study also draw lessons from other rural electrification programs in neighbouring countries, i.e. an evaluation of a hybrid solar-diesel mini-grid system in Namibia, and a review of two systems, a hybrid solar-biomass mini-grid project in Botswana and a hydro mini-grid program in Lesotho. The study revealed that hydro based hybrid mini-grid systems provide the most cost effective way of bringing energy services to rural settlements. Regardless of technology, successful programs depend on adequate support from the government, implementation of a progressive tariff system that allows the high consuming high income earners and businesses, to cross subsidize the low consuming , low income users. It shows that it is more likely for rural electrification programs to survive if the design considers the existing businesses, population growth and the corresponding load increase. The thesis further shows that provision of sufficient energy to induce income generating activities is essential to decrease the need for subsidies and to ensure the sustainability of programs. In addition, availability of spare parts and a capable management team is essential for the successful operations and maintenance of these systems.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Västerås: Mälardalen University, 2016. 65 p.
Series
Mälardalen University Press Dissertations, ISSN 1651-4238 ; 198
Keyword
Off-grid electrification, sustainability, solar home system, hybrid mini-grid, renewable energy, technical challenges
National Category
Electrical Engineering, Electronic Engineering, Information Engineering
Research subject
Energy- and Environmental Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-30762 (URN)978-91-7485-252-3 (ISBN)
Public defence
2016-03-04, Gamma, Mälardalens högskola, Västerås, 09:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2016-01-19 Created: 2016-01-19 Last updated: 2016-02-01Bibliographically approved

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Azimoh, Chukwuma LeonardKlintenberg, PatrikWallin, FredrikKarlsson, Björn

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