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Remote Monitoring System Effectiveness : Small Scale Rollout of PV Systems in Chikhwawa District, Malawi

Mafuta, Million T. and Dauenhauer, Peter and Chadza, Timothy (2015) Remote Monitoring System Effectiveness : Small Scale Rollout of PV Systems in Chikhwawa District, Malawi. [Report]

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Abstract

The Remote Monitoring (RM) strand of MREAP was incorporated within a Strategic Energy Project in Chikhwawa led by WASHTED. RM was deployed as a measure to bolster technical sustainability of the project and to consider its readiness for scale-up. Distributed energy systems in Malawi, particularly solar PV systems, have historically had poor sustainability performance. During MREAP it was included at 4 separate locations comprised of 21 separate electrical systems to capture key technical performance data. These systems were each standalone Solar PV installations on health facilities and primary schools. The technology utilized Wireless Sensor Networks (WSN) and open-source models to communicate via mobile phone networks remotely to WASHTED’s office in Blantyre. Data could then be viewed at near real-time, analyzed, and corrective actions could be enacted. The purpose of the RM strand was to demonstrate the technology’s effectiveness towards improving sustainability of off-grid community energy projects, particularly the technical performance.