In Madagascar, only 15 percent of its 28 million residents are connected to electricity. In rural areas, connectivity is only 4 percent. Launching an initiative to supply power to 100 rural villages for the first time, local Cat® dealer Henri Fraise Fils & Cie led the solution.
Originally there were only two ways rural villagers could access power: using a home solar system, which meant replacing a poor-quality, lead-acid battery every two years; or using small generators, requiring retrieving fuel and oil by bush taxi.
In the village of Belobaka, a new solar microgrid installation eliminated the need for these methods. It provides 83 kW of power at peak operation and has a 315 kW battery with a 110 kVA generator set for backup. This system has the potential to provide power to 5,000 people and 800 homes.
Despite challenges including intense rain and unreliable roads surrounding the project site, the team completed the microgrid in five months. The new grid measures 4 square kilometers and consists of 720 photovoltaic panels and 16 battery cabinets. The state-of-the-art microgrid solutions are offered at affordable rates for villagers.
“I am proud to be part of this important project and am excited about the potential of bringing electricity to many more villages,” says Eric Billet, director of new business. “Rural electrification is not easy. But when you see all the children smiling and happy to see you helping their village, it’s a good feeling.”