The electricity costs are so high that even the simplest field work costs a fortune. Thanks to a generous donation, a solar system could be installed for the most part - another donation contribution is needed to complete it. Patrick Kusongwa reports on the assembly.
As part of the FCTrelief Zambia Foundation, our farm produces food and creates jobs for young people. To reduce our electricity costs which increased 200% earlier this year, we wanted to install a solar system that powered our irrigation pump with electricity can. We have found that this solar system can also be operated in series with our borehole, so that the capacity of the power generation is now 32 HP - only 5000 francs are missing so that we can complete the installation.
The pump for irrigating the fields.
On the technical implementation: First we had to install a solar inverter that can extract solar energy from the solar collectors and close it in a pump inverter. This in turn meant that we had to install solar modules with a capacity to generate 22 kW. So we came up with a total of 88 solar modules, which together generate 22 kW.
A place in the Sun
We conducted an investigation to determine the best location, taking into account the following factors:
- Security measures (as close as possible to the farmhouses)
- Cost of additional cables (as close as possible to the existing control panels and main cables)
- Light conditions (maximum sunlight without trees or other sunlight blockages).
We chose an area between the fence and the farmhouses (colored red on the map).
The location of the solar system (red) on Farm 2, view on Google Maps.
First we cleared the selected area. As soon as the collectors were on site, we placed the solar collector frames. The solar panels themselves have been used to measure the frames. When all the frames were in place, it was time to fit the modules into the frames, module by module.
As the next step, we connected all of the solar modules with a cable that led into the control box, and we backed them up so that they couldn't be easily removed. And so we finally connected the pump inverter in our power control room.
Really wet - but for how long?
Upon completion we tested the pump; it was a great relief after so much anticipation on how we can use the sun on a commercial scale to generate electricity.
The results can be seen: A watered onion field throughout the day, without worrying about how many power units we can still use according to the measuring device.
Now we need another 5,000 francs to be able to store the electricity with batteries so that we can make optimal use of the solar modules at all times. Please help us to fulfill this wish. A big thank you to all donors who have invested so far and continue to support us!