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System usage trends for off-grid renewable energy users in developing communities

Dauenhauer, Peter and Louie, Henry (2015) System usage trends for off-grid renewable energy users in developing communities. In: 4th Symposium Small PV-Applications 2015. OTTI, pp. 175-180. ISBN 9783943891539

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Abstract

With 1.3 billion people currently lacking access to electricity and a significant share of new rural access in the next 15 years expected to be off-grid (70% of total), efforts to ensure the sustainability of these systems is paramount. Transferring technologies that exhibit both scalability and appropriateness for the context, or likewise, developing such technologies is key objective for engineers interested in energy for development. Remote monitoring allows for near real-time monitoring and analysis of off-grid systems and provides several channels for improvement in sustainability of these projects including during operation and as a research tool. With the current portfolio of off-grid deployments, little empirical data are typically available for load estimation, load growth and analysis of consumer behavior resulting in heavier dependence on potentially imprecise assumptions. we seek to demonstrate the value of captured data in improving understanding of how off-grid systems actually operate and how differences in uses impact that operation. The data set includes seven original and individual off-grid systems in Malawi and Kenya that were fitted with remote monitoring systems. All systems are solar-PV but represent a range of different use cases from primary schools, restaurants, small businesses and health centers.