Siemens teams for African solar microgrid projects

June 22, 2018 // By Nick Flaherty
Siemens teams for African solar microgrid projects
Siemens has teamed up with Berlin-based systems developer Solarkiosk to boost connectivity across Africa.

The two signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to use the Solarkiosk’s solar energy technology in non-electrified parts of rural Africa for connection gateways.

Solarkiosk has deployed more than 250 projects in twelve countries serving around 5 million people. It’s solar powered E-HUBB is the business centrepiece for a rural "off-grid" village providing retail and energy related services such as charging (mobile phones, batteries, lights), internet connectivity, cooling of products and medication, water purification, copy, print or scan, financial inclusion services as well as news and entertainment to local communities.

In the first joint project, Siemens will implement a microgrid gateway collecting data from both Solarkiosk's existing energy systems and retail businesses and enabling remote control of the E-HUBB, improving service, energy usage and operation such as supply chain management. The gateway will be connected to applications running on Siemens' EnergyIP smart grid application platform that runs on its MindSphere cloud-based open operating system for the Internet of Things (IoT).

In a next step Solarkiosk will look at how the Siemens local microgrid controllers and small batteries and inverter kits can be optimised for rural environments.

"With Siemens' microgrid applications powered by MindSphere, Solarkiosk will be able to improve serviceability of the electrical equipment and make sure the energy is used in the most efficient way. The analysed data supports Solarkiosk in making the most economic decisions by evaluating productivity of different service offerings", said Ralf Christian, CEO of Siemens' Energy Management Division. "If the B2B microgrid grows further you can do even more with the collected data and local control capability. That's our motivation for a co-creation agreement to define the next system generation maximizing value for all partners."

For the project, Siemens will deliver and install a suitable and robust data gateway for aggregating the necessary data and remotely control loads and generation using its proven EnergyIP. Numerous EnergyIP applications have been successfully used around the world for years.

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