Construction began in November on a photovoltaic electrical installation to generate and store clean, renewable energy harnessed from the sun and convert it to electricity for the Maasai village of Enooasaen. The installation consists of 24 SunPower solar panels, a bank of 24 lead-acid batteries that store the electricity generated by the panels, and an inverter to convert the DC electricity from the solar panels and batteries into useable AC power for the schoolhouse. Exide Technologies is supplying its Absolyte(R) 100G29 valve-regulated lead-acid (VRLA) batteries to store the electricity generated by the solar panels.
The Absolyte(R) technology was the first VRLA, large capacity, deep-cycle battery for industrial applications. The Absolyte(R) GP product line incorporates a technologically and environmentally-advanced design that delivers a 20-year design life in certain applications with enhanced cycling performance — a key attribute that supports photovoltaic, wind turbine and other renewable energy initiatives.
The proven technology is well suited to operating in harsh, remote environments: the batteries do not require a separate battery room, can withstand temperature fluctuations from -40 degrees C (-40 degrees F) to +50 degrees C (122 degrees F), can operate for extended periods even when partially charged and can be easily recharged, even after they are deeply discharged. (Operation outside of the optimum operating conditions will affect the life and performance of the battery). Finally, a patented, proprietary alloy in the batteries reduces the content of heavy metal in the finished product, making it easier than ever for Exide’s global customers to recycle spent batteries. As a result, the Absolyte(R) product range enjoys one of the largest installed bases of industrial VRLA products in the industry.
Designed to generate a maximum of 35kwh/day, the solar installation will provide electricity to the seven classrooms of the Emprukel Primary school and power the school’s new bank of laptop computers, cell phone charging station, and LED classroom lights. Beyond the school, the solar system also will power a refrigerator to properly store medicines used for the village.
In Kenya, more than 30,000 small, off-grid systems are installed every year. Enooasaen will join the growing number of remote communities that are generating renewable energy and distributing it locally, without the need to be connected to a larger utility grid. In fact, more Kenyans adopt off-grid solar power every year than those who make connections to the country’s electric utility grid.
The new photovoltaic system is being provided by American African Nuru Foundation, a non-profit organization that helps and accelerates health, education, and access technology to the needy as an American African focus, and SunPower to the People, a nonprofit arm of SunPower Corporation, which designs, manufactures and delivers the planet’s most powerful solar technology broadly available today. The deployment of the first electrical system in the community of Enooasaen is intended to increase the educational opportunities for children and transform the standard of living for the entire village.
Solar installations are characterized by their clean generation of renewable energy, ability to store electricity for use when the sun isn’t shining, zero emissions, silent operation, and ease of maintenance. In the developing world, renewable energy sources, coupled with energy storage, will improve the reliability of the electricity grid, extend electricity to areas that are off-grid, and replace the consumption of fossil fuels used to generate power in remote areas.
The new Enooasaen photovoltaic installation is equipped with a wireless monitoring system that will allow the U.S.-based SunPower team to observe the operation of the installation and alert local technicians in Africa of any problems with the panels, inverter or battery bank. The SunPower to the People team also will provide education and training that will allow the people in the community to maintain their system.
ReStore Energy Systems utilizes Exide’s proven capabilities in lead-acid energy storage, along with recently acquired lithium ion technology, to develop new application-specific solutions for high-growth, global markets such as renewable energy. Off-grid renewable power generation and storage is a key focus for the division. ReStore Energy Systems also leverages Exide’s advancements in research and development, application engineering, manufacture of superior-quality products, and customer service.
"Exide Technologies has decades of experience and knowledge in supplying battery technologies for sustainable applications similar to the Enooasaen photovoltaic project, balancing technical, environmental and economic factors," said Gary Reinert, Vice President and General Manager of the ReStore Energy Systems division. "The Company provides a wide array of storage technologies in which proven lead-acid and other battery chemistries play a critical role for renewable energy sources tailored to the specific operating conditions in new power grids."
ReStore Energy Systems, a division of Exide Technologies, is a developer and manufacturer of industry-leading, renewable energy storage solutions and high-performance, large-capacity lithium ion energy systems. The division’s expertise lies in large-scale storage for grid-connected renewable energy; off-grid renewable power generation and storage; and new applications for lithium ion batteries. Further information about ReStore Energy Systems is available at www.restoreenergysystems.com.
Exide Technologies, with operations in more than 80 countries, is one of the world’s largest producers and recyclers of lead-acid batteries. The Company’s four global business groups — Transportation Americas, Transportation Europe and Rest of World, Industrial Energy Americas and Industrial Energy Europe and Rest of World — provide a comprehensive range of stored electrical energy products and services for industrial and electric vehicles.
Transportation markets include original-equipment and aftermarket automotive, heavy-duty truck, agricultural and marine applications, and new technologies for hybrid vehicles and automotive applications. Industrial markets include network power applications such as telecommunications systems, electric utilities, railroads, photovoltaic (solar-power related) and uninterruptible power supply (UPS), and motive-power applications including lift trucks, mining and other commercial vehicles.