In Meni Curve, a small village in the northeast of Sierra Leone in West Africa, an independent energy supply is being implemented. In 2016/2017, the village will be equipped with several photovoltaic systems that are interconnected. The smart grid will enable the residents of the village to trade self-generated solar power. The project receives 5,000 euros from the Green Electricity certification of the green electricity product Enspire energy the Constance public utility.
- Promotion: 5.000 € in the course of the Enspire Award 2016
- Date of promotion: 2016/2017
- The object of thengSystem consisting of micro PV system, battery storage and hardware for networking.
- Technical data: 52 micro PV systems á 20 Wp power, battery storage, software and hardware for networking
- Destination: Establishment of a clean energy supply, energy management by the inhabitants, smart grid for a self-sufficient energy supply of the village, transferability of the concept to other developing regions.
(House in Meni Curve (Sierra Leone), Source: Bintumani D-SL e.V.
Project promoted by the Green Electricity Certification).
Since 2016, Bintumani Deutschland-Sierra Leone e.V. has been active in Meni Curve, a small village in the northeast of the country of Sierra Leone. Around 650 people live in the 60 houses of the West African village. The families earn their living primarily through agriculture. Living conditions in Meni Curve are, as is usual for rural regions in Sierra Leone, arduous. Just 10 percent of the urban population of the world's fifth poorest country has access to electricity. However, the power supply, which is provided by expensive and environmentally harmful diesel generators, is constantly interrupted due to a desolate grid infrastructure. Inhabitants of rural areas usually have no access to an electricity grid at all. In the project village of Meni Curve, kerosene lamps provide brightness after dark. Since these lamps, which are highly harmful to health and the climate, are not a real alternative for the local population, Bintumani D-SL e.V. has taken on the task of promoting and expanding solar energy in sunny Sierra Leone.
Project description: Already at the beginning of 2016, the "Barefoot women solar engineers", local project partner of Bintumani, started to equip the houses of Meni Curve village, including an elementary school and the local health clinic with solar home systems. The installation process will be completed in early 2017. The "Barefoot women solar engineers" is a group of 12 women from Sierra Leone who now have many years of experience in photovoltaic system technology. They take care of the installation, maintenance and necessary repairs of the PV systems.
Now that the initial supply of renewable energy in the form of solar power has been completed for the residents in Meni Curve, Bintumani plans to use the Enspire Award funding to initiate a socioeconomic process. The houses' 20-watt solar panels will be equipped with a storage battery and a specially designed hardware and software box. The box, which costs about 70 euros, enables the 52 individual PV systems to be networked. This will create a grid-autonomous smart grid system that will allow residents to sell produced electricity that they cannot consume or store themselves to their neighbors, or to purchase electricity if their needs cannot be met by their own solar home system. The solar boxes allow residents to trade electricity in an easy-to-use manner. The available energy can be used more economically and the investment costs per consumed kilowatt hour can be reduced. This creates new investment opportunities for the population.
The technology used, which is not very complex, ensures a promising multiplier effect. After successful implementation in the project village Meni Curve, the technology is to be applied in other regions of Sierra Leone and other developing countries.
The project in Meni Curve won the Enspire Award 2016. In addition to Marion Hammerl, Managing Director of the Lake Constance Foundation, the jury included Prof. Dr. Maike Sippel, Faculty of Civil Engineering at Constance University of Applied Sciences Technology, Economics and Design, as well as graduate geographer and graduate tropical technologist Rosa Hemmers, Chairwoman of Grüner Strom Label e.V. The Enspire Award was presented for the third time in 2016.