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Po.Box:661 Douala-Cameroon; 401 street, Frederic EKWALA ESSAKA-Deido

Phone: +237233400222
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Solar electricity

Every year, solar energy produces more than 20 times the world’s energy needs. And yet, it still represents only 1% of global power generation capacity. Our goal is to implement projects to develop this renewable and clean energy within the energy mix of the countries of the Africa-Caribbean-Pacific zone, being present throughout the value chain.

Solar PV Power Plants

Installed capacity of large Grid Connected Solar Power Plants in Africa more than 2,000MW with wind energy of 2,545MW as of 2016. These systems are installed under World Bank Support Programs, African Development Bank, and Country level solar policy framework. This sudden scaling up of grid connected

PV and wind market in Africa  has created an unhealthy competition among project developers, construction companies, equipment suppliers and service providers and the unfortunate consequence is that quality standards in project design, selection of equipments and balance of system, installation and even O&M practice being compromised in many instances.
A considerable number of large grid connected power plants are reporting poor performance due to known or unknown reasons. Many developers and investors are desperate to improve their power plant performance but failed to understand the reason for underperformance, which is not merely related to regular operation and maintenance issues.

What determines Power Plant Performance?

The amount of energy delivered by the energy system depends on a number of factors, but the primary factors are:

  1. Size of the system
  2. Amount of raw materials such as irradiation (sunlight), water flow rate, biomass or wind speed it receives
  3. The total efficiency of the system

In general energy systems are exposed to a variety of losses some due to environmental factors, some due to device limits and others due to manufacturing defects. The losses will include things such as soiling or shading (dust for PV or solar thermals), manufacturer’s tolerance, temperature, voltage drop, inverter or converter efficiency, orientation and tilt angle of the module for PV, degradation of solar modules, plus any other location specific factors that could have impact on the system’s performance.

But these are not only the factors that determine energy system performance. Favorable wind speed, Biomass, water flow rate, solar radiation and best of the equipments cannot alone perform well if the system is not designed or installed in a technically competent way. Some of the factors responsible for under performance of a power plant are:

  1. Poor system design
  2. Poor quality equipment and materials
  3. Under sizing of equipments
  4. Improper installation and integration of equipments
  5. Mismatching of different parameters
  6. Unstable grids
  7. Frequent equipment failure and shut down
  8. Potential Induced Degradation (PID)
  9. Inadequate O&M planning etc.

A well designed and installed power grid-connected system should have fault free operation for many years. Poor system design can result in the system operating at voltages and consequently the disconnects from the grid for long periods. Poor system design relating to the systems also force inverter to operate very inefficiently. In many cases, owner has been given a prediction of unrealistically high energy yield from their energy system. This usually occurs due to ignorance or poor estimation of system losses by the system designer or the consultant. Some of these losses are easy to rectify but some require in-depth understanding and testing of the system and components.

Why Power Plant Audit?

The objective of power plant audit is to ensure grid safety and improve the power plant performance. Power plant audit is necessary – if

  1. The performance ratio (PR) of the power plant is below 90% of designed/ expected value;
  2. The plant is not working during peak time;
  3. The plant degradation is higher than the expected;

There is frequent tripping and shutdown of the power plant for known or unknown reasons. Power plant audit identify the root causes of these losses and help to maximize its performance. A simple power plant audit process starts with the data analysis process with in-depth analysis of the available wind, temperature, irradiation, DC power output and AC power output data. This allows the auditors to understand the system behavior and conduct the audit in a systematic manner. An analysis of the design documents allows the auditors to validate the design process according to best practices and industry standards. Bill of material audit is also a critical step in ensuring power plant durability and reliability. This involves benchmarking the quality of installed components with our internally developed metrics and power plant audit experience around the globe. The countries of Africa and the Pacific zone still suffer from a faulty or non-existent electricity grid. This is the case in some remote rural areas. To promote access to energy, units of production and consumption of renewable energy at the local level, called micro-grids or microgrids, are gradually emerging. And this is not the only field of application for these micro-grids that are also spreading in the industrial and residential sectors to offer a cheaper and more reliable alternative to centralized electricity grids.

Able to operate independently of or in synchronization with the power grid, microgrids provide remote and / or rural areas with the supply of green energy, local and reliable in any season. They are also used on industrial or commercial sites.
In order to allow isolated island areas to secure their economic activity, or to remote areas without access to the electricity grid to benefit from reliable energy, it is necessary to develop local mini-grids production and distribution of electricity. The opportunity, in addition, to benefit from a clean and renewable energy.
Typical composition of a microgrid:

  • Renewable energy sources (solar, wind, biomass)
  • Fossil energy sources that ensure the stability of the network
  • Energy storage solutions (batteries, hydrogen storage or mechanical etc.)
  • Low voltage distribution network, regulated by a smart control system

Microgrids adapted to island territories, for decentralized, reliable and local energy

Microgrids integrating local renewable energy production and energy storage enable industrialists in island territories to limit the consequences of possible network failures (loss of competitiveness and unpredictability of costs)  Microgrid supplies up to 70% of energy needs and lowers the cost of supply for local residents.
Have you any question or querry?

Feel Free to contact us here for free consultation!


ACP Energy Services for Power Plant Audit:

ACP Energy is uniquely placed to provide unbiased consulting services without focusing on specific technologies or brands, as it does not engage in retail or commercial installation. ACP Energy in Africa (Cameroon) provides the following services for power plant audit –

  1. Performance analysis of power plant from past energy generation data and weather parameters and comparison to estimated yield at design stage
  2. Analysis of grid availability data and grid fluctuation data
  3. Analysis of power plant down time (partial or complete) due to maintenance issue
  4. Review of calibration certificate and the accuracy class of all measuring equipments and compare with the globally accepted practice
  5. Evaluation of overall construction quality & BOS component performance
  6. Evaluation of functioning of weather monitoring station installed at the plant
  7. Inspection of functioning of plant’s SCADA system or data logging system (local & remote)
  8. Evaluate plant O&M procedures including periodicity of cleaning of arrays, preventive maintenance schedule, fault response time etc.
  9. Suggest key requirements to prevent preliminary degradation and revenue loss
  10. Recommend options for upgrading and re-engineering and scenarios/ cost benefit analysis
  11. Recommend optimal O&M planning to minimize downtime

Why investigation and assessment of renewable energy integration into the grid?

A recent issue of increasing public focus is the need for robust, sustainable and climate friendly power systems that are intelligent, reliable and green. Current power systems create environmental impacts as well as global warming due to utilization of fossil fuels, especially coal, as carbon dioxide is emitted into the atmosphere. In contrast to fossil fuels, renewable energy offers alternative sources of energy which are in general pollution free, technologically effective and environmentally sustainable. It is therefore a fundamental concern today to be able to bring higher percentages of renewable electricity into the energy mix is due to the variable nature of many of these resources and higher initial investment costs. The intermittent nature of power output from renewable energy sources, in particular wind and solar, introduces potential technical challenges that affect quality of power observed including voltage fluctuation, power system transients and harmonics, reactive power, switching actions, synchronization, long transmission lines, low power factor, storage system, load management, and forecasting and scheduling.

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