The German firm Tesvolt, which manufactures commercial storage systems, has entered into an exclusive cooperation agreement with the start-up Africa Green Tec. Tesvolt is supplying lithium storage systems for 50 solar containers with a total capacity of 3 megawatt-hours (MWh), enabling a reliable power supply in 25 villages in Mali. The 40-foot containers each have a 37–45 kWp photovoltaic system and a 60 kWh battery storage system and provide energy for €0.20 per kilowatt-hour (kWh). Before, the villagers had to pay up to €1.50 per kWh for energy produced by expensive diesel generators, or they had no access to power at all.
Reliable storage system partner for development project
Torsten Schreiber, Founder and Managing Director of Africa Green Tec, says: “For our project in Mali, we needed a reliable supplier of high-performance energy storage systems. Tesvolt shares our commitment to the decentralised, green and reliable provision of energy. And they already have a great deal of experience with the established inverter technology of the global leader SMA Solar Technology. That sealed our decision to enter into a long-term partnership with Tesvolt – together with the fact that they are also taking on the assembly and maintenance of the storage systems on site.”
The first solar container with a Tesvolt storage system is being set up in the village of Djoliba, south of the capital Bamako. By the end of 2018 all 25 villages should be supplied with solar power. The costs of €150,000 per container are initially being financed by crowdfunding and will later be covered by a loan.
Increasing productivity using stored solar energy
Thanks to Tesvolt’s storage systems, the villagers will be able to use solar power not only for around nine hours during the day, but also after dusk from around 6 to 10pm. Electric light makes it possible to work in the evening when it’s cooler – during the day the temperature is around 45℃ in the shade. And it also makes it possible to work in two shifts, which helps local small business owners to increase their added value. Solar power is also much cheaper, cleaner and quieter than the diesel that was used previously, and it means that the villagers must no longer be dependent on the diesel supply.
Large storage systems for challenging service environments
“The project demonstrates the potential of solar power and storage systems in particular in remote areas of the world that aren’t connected to the power grid”, says Simon Schandert, Director of Engineering at Tesvolt. “Our storage systems can be used anywhere and have a long service life. This is thanks to intelligent control of each individual battery cell, which ensures that the systems are charged and discharged optimally. So naturally they’re an attractive option for locations that are hard to access, where the technology needs to be long lasting.”
The cooling that the systems require, with outdoor temperatures reaching 50℃ in the shade, is carried out by a special system, which also runs on solar power. The containers can be fitted with additional components, for example to filter contaminated water.