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Tanzania To Develop First PV-Diesel Hybrid Minigrid In Lake Victoria


Tanzanian solar energy contractor Rex Investment Limited (Rex) has selected MRIGlobal to undertake the first PV-Diesel hybrid grid’s feasibility study and power generation pilot project in a remote island of Lake Victoria region where currently merely 1% of the population have access to electricity.

MRIGlobal, an American non-profit organization that conducts research in energy, defense and health sectors for Governments and private institutions, will be in charge of the photovoltaic-battery storage-diesel hybrid grid’s development whose outcome is expected to reach the range of 60-80Kwp necessary to supply with electricity the approximately 2,400 residents in the island.

The hybrid grid on its initial stage, is being funded by the US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) with USD 818,000 as part of the goals of US President Barack Obama’s Power Africa Initiative, which seeks to increase energy access and promote private investment in the energy sector in the Sub-Saharan Region, explained USTDA Director, Mr. Leocadia I. Zak to the press in Dar es Salaam after signing the grant.

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With the hybrid grid which links US expertise with Tanzania’s focus on clean energy and the MRIGlobal’s technical support, Rex is again assuming the leadership towards the country’s transformation to a solar powered electrification, explained Rex Managing Director, Mr. Francis Kibhisa.

The project, which seeks to demonstrate the success of using off-grids photovoltaic-battery storage-diesel minigrids in remote locations, will count with the support of additional US companies as Homer Energy, Enphase and SunEdison, while the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) will provide expertise to optimize the hybrid grid’s design.

The 18 month project is meant to provide foundation for the development of similar minigrids in Tanzania where currently an average 15% of the population have access to electricity, still far below the Sub-Saharan Region’s average at 33.6% according to the World Bank.

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