Examining Solar PY Mini-Grid System As A Complement To Grid Extension For Rural Electrification With Reference To Yama Community, Northern Ghana.
This research was undertaken to design, determine the cost and economic viability of solar PV Mini-grid System as an alternative to grid extension using Yama community as a case study. In this study energy demand survey was conducted in 300 households (3000 inhabitants) in YAMA. Average daily Energy demand considering 200 households (2000 inhabitants) and 50 households (500 inhabitants) was also determined. These sizes of PV mini grid systems obtained, 120kWp PV system for 300 households, 72.5kWp PV system for 200 households and 26kWp PV system for 50 households. The System wiring and system configuration procedures for the designed PV systems are outlined to show that it is theoretically possible to design a PV mini-grid system for unelectrified communities in Ghana. The 120kWp mini-grid photovoltaic system for Yama is estimated to cost US$869,793 while the cost of extending the national grid of 34.5kV MV line over a distance of 18 km is estimated to cost US$1, 091,145. The 26kWp PV mini-grid system for 50 households is estimated to cost US$305,400. It also established that for the PV system to economically viable a feed-in-Tariff of between US35 Cents/kWh to US50 Cents/kWh giving a simple payback period of between 10 and 15 years was required. These results show that solar PV mini-grid connected system is economically viable for rural electrification for isolated, small and remote communities where the national grid has to be extended distances beyond 20km. Furthermore, PV mini-grid systems can be integrated into the national grid, when those communities are connected to the national grid in future. Solar PV mini-grid system can serve as a stop gap measure towards attainment of the universal access to electricity for communities with population above 500 inhabitants as in Ghana’s electrification policy.
A thesis submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master Of Science In Renewable Energy Technologies, 2013