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Small scale rollout of PV systems in Chikwawa District, Malawi : remote monitoring system effectiveness

Mafuta, Million and Dauenhauer, Peter and Chadza, Timothy (2017) Small scale rollout of PV systems in Chikwawa District, Malawi : remote monitoring system effectiveness. Journal of Solar Energy, 2017. pp. 1-21. ISSN 2314-6230

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Off-grid solar photovoltaic systems in Malawi are deployed increasingly as the primary option for rural public infrastructure such as primary schools and health centres. Overall, grid-connected electricity access has remained stagnant at around 9% with only 1% of rural population connected. To improve the technical sustainability of such systems, a novel remote monitoring technology utilising Wireless Sensor Networks was installed and the systems were monitored over roughly one year. This paper has described the technical design, performance, and benefits received from deployment of the technology. Furthermore, it has evaluated the cost implications for a larger scale rollout and potential benefits.