Location: Tanzania

NextEnergy Foundation is pleased to announce a new partnership with VoltaView. VoltaView is a collaboration between Fraunhofer HHI and the Clausthal University of Technology in Germany.

NextEnergy Foundation is fully funding the assembly, transportation and installation of a Mini-Grid-25 system in the Tweyambe Secondary and High School, Tanzania. The Mini-Grid-25 is a container-based solar and battery powered charging station which has been constructed using 2nd life components of solar panels and batteries. It will generate clean energy and drinking water for 15 years: 10,000kWh electricity per year and 2,000 litres drinking water per day.

The beneficiaries include 250 students at the school and 500 neighbouring inhabitants. The latter will also be reached with 10 mobile power banks which are part of the system.

VoltaView is working with the school’s Physics teacher to develop a curriculum to educate the students on the system’s operation so that they can maintain it themselves and promote the uptake of the technology and other solar-enabled technologies in the wider community. This will aid the project’s social and environmental sustainability in the long-term and contribute to its scalability.

The system will be shipped from Germany in July and a further update will be provided when it reaches Tanzania. Some photographs of the Mini-Grid-25 system being developed and tested are above.

January 2023 Update: The Mini-Grid-25 arrived in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania in November and was expected to be installed at the Tweyambe School by the end of 2022. However, several complications were encountered owing to local bureaucracy which delayed the release of the system from local authorities to VoltaView, as well as logistical challenges with the trucking company contracted to transport the Mini-Grid-25 from Dar es Salaam to the school.

Fortunately, the system has now reached its final destination and the photographs above demonstrate that all materials stored in the container arrived safely. VoltaView will be returning to Tanzania to teach a local company to install the system and train a local engineer in its operation and maintenance in the coming weeks.

March 2023 – Project Completion: The system is now installed and fully functioning. Estimated positive impacts of the project are below:

  • 9m litres potable water generated over the system’s lifetime;
  • 216,000 CO2 emissions avoided over the system’s lifetime;
  • 900kg NO2 emissions avoided over the system’s lifetime;
  • < 750 students, staff and community members with first-time access to clean energy;
  • 2 teachers and 3 students trained in the operation and maintenance of the system;
  • Annual savings > 30% on the school’s expenses

October 2023 – Six-Month Update: Since March, the average daily potable water consumption as been 600 litres. Average electricity generated has been 22kWh per day, which equates to 4 tonnes CO2e emissions avoided over the six month period and has saved the school EUR 2,400 on fuel costs.

The Mini-Grid-25 system is generating electricity for two charging boxes which serve as power banks in the classrooms with computers; lighting the student dorms in the evenings; and, replacing two fuel operated generators in the workshops of the school. The system is also being utilised by the Physics teacher for practical lessons where he demonstrates how solar PV works, and teaches about battery storage, energy conversion, and simple calculations related to energy generation and emissions reductions.

May 2024 – One-Year Update: Since our last update in October 2023, the powerhouse has been operating efficiently, providing both the school and the surrounding community with purified water, and the school with solar-generated energy.

Rainwater is collected and stored in a 10,000-liter tank, then processed by the powerhouse. On a daily basis, the powerhouse serves more than 100 students and staff of Twyambe School with electricity and drinking water.

The average daily output is as follows:

  • Potable water: 500 liters
  • Electricity: 22 kWh

By generating a total of approximately 8,000 kWh of electricity, the Mini-Grid Powerhouse has produced the following significant environmental and social impacts at the end of its first year of operation:

  • CO2 emissions avoided: 8 tonnes
  • School fuel cost savings: £4,080
  • Significant reduction in stomach diseases among students and the community

The system is also used by the Physics teacher for educational purposes, such as demonstrating solar PV functioning, battery storage, energy conservation, and calculation of CO2 generation.

In January 2024, daily electricity production was temporarily reduced by about 20% due to dust on the solar panels. Following this, VoltaView trained a superintendent, and the cleaning frequency has been increased to every two months.