Solar Plus Storage Microgrid Features Aquion Battery at South African Luxury Camp

Feb. 3, 2017
A new solar plus storage microgrid will bring clean energy to a South African nature resort with the help of a salt water battery system by Aquion Energy.

A new solar plus storage microgrid will bring clean energy to a South African nature resort with the help of a salt water battery system by Aquion Energy.

Located in Kruger National Park, the luxury nature lodge is reducing its reliance on diesel generation with the help of Aquion’s Aspen batteries.

The Aspen battery uses an environmentally friendly electrochemical design, and is the first and only battery in the world to win certification from the non-profit Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute.

The solar plus storage microgrid marries a 55-kWh Aquion battery bank and a 10-kW solar array. Together, the solar and storage provide full power for the camp, its four luxury tents, a lounge, swimming pool and pressure pump for drinking water.

The batteries have been sized to easily meet the resort’s loads during overcast conditions. A diesel generator provides only back-up power.

Generally, diesel generators serve as the primary power for off-grid lodging facilities, which produces air and noise pollution.

“A solar and energy storage microgrid enables the switch to a quiet and clean energy system,” said a news release issued by Aquion.

The project was designed, installed, and integrated by Solarsun Solutions, with support from Capetown-based SolarWorld Africa.

The Kruger National Park project marks Aquion’s second solar plus storage microgrid in Africa. Their first project can be found in Kenya’s Loisaba Conservancy, a 56,000-acre hub for wildlife research and an ecotourism destination in East Africa.

SouthAfrica funded, designed, installed, and integrated the Kenya microgrid, which has two independent systems, each with 106 kWh of Aquion batteries paired with a 37-kW solar array. That solar plus storage microgrid is replacing diesel generators to power a commercial laundry, swimming pool, kitchen, business services, lighting, cooling, and other facility loads.

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About the Author

Lisa Cohn | Contributing Editor

I focus on the West Coast and Midwest. Email me at [email protected]

I’ve been writing about energy for more than 20 years, and my stories have appeared in EnergyBiz, SNL Financial, Mother Earth News, Natural Home Magazine, Horizon Air Magazine, Oregon Business, Open Spaces, the Portland Tribune, The Oregonian, Renewable Energy World, Windpower Monthly and other publications. I’m also a former stringer for the Platts/McGraw-Hill energy publications. I began my career covering energy and environment for The Cape Cod Times, where Elisa Wood also was a reporter. I’ve received numerous writing awards from national, regional and local organizations, including Pacific Northwest Writers Association, Willamette Writers, Associated Oregon Industries, and the Voice of Youth Advocates. I first became interested in energy as a student at Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut, where I helped design and build a solar house.

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