The energy supplier Eskom. File Image: IOL

FICKSBURG – Eskom has launched its pilot solar-powered microgrid at Wilhelmina Farm at Ficksburg in the Free State, the state-owned power entity said on Saturday.

The microgrid demonstration plant which was completed in November last year provided electricity to 14 households with 81 family members that made up the Wilhelmina community, Eskom said in a statement.

"The plant harnesses solar energy and converts it to a peak of 32-kilowatt electrical energy via photovoltaic (PV) panels and power inverters,” said Nick Singh of Eskom's research, testing, and development centre. 

The remaining energy from the solar panels was stored in three sets of lithium-ion batteries, totalling 90-kilowatt-hours of storage. This storage facility provided electricity when there was low or no sunlight available to the solar PV panels.

"The project symbolises innovation, growth, and development and is consistent with Eskom’s future strategic objectives as microgrids incorporating renewable and smart energy technologies will play an important role in the future Eskom as an integral part of the business,” Singh said.

The project was a close partnership between the agriculture, forestry, and fisheries department, the community of Wilhelmina farm, and the Smart Grid Centre of Excellence of Eskom's research, testing, and development centre, he said.

African News Agency (ANA)