Eskom launches solar-powered microgrid pilot plant

Image: landportal.org

State-owned utility company Eskom launched its pilot solar-powered microgrid in the Free State province last week.

Located in the Wilhelmina Farm in Ficksburg, the microgrid plant provides electricity to 14 households with 81 family members that make up the Wilhelmina community.

“The plant harnesses solar energy and converts it to a peak of 32 kilowatt electricity via photovoltaic panels and power inverters,” said Nick Singh from Eskom’s Research, Testing and Development Centre.

The remaining energy from the solar panels is stored in three sets of lithium ion batteries, totaling 90 kilowattt hours of storage. The storage facility then provides electricity when there is low or no sunlight.

“The project symbolizes innovation, growth and development and is consistent with Eskoms future strategic objectives as microgrids incorporating renewables and smart energy technologies will play an important role in the future Eskom as an integral part of the business.”