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10 October 2013

Fondation Énergies pour le Monde installs Soitec CPV system in Madagascar as part of Sunidarity initiative

As one of four winners in the first round of Sunidarity initiative awards (in December 2012), Paris-based Fondation Énergies pour le Monde (Energy for the World Foundation) has just finished installing a concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) system in southern Madagascar. The Plug&Sun system from CPV system maker Soitec of Bernin, France (founder of the Sunidarity initiative) enables independent solar-power generation in areas without access to the electricity grid.

The rural electrification project put forward by Fondation Énergies pour le Monde won over the Sunidarity jury with its original and on-target approach to bring electricity to a small community in Madagascar. To fulfill the project, Fondation Énergies pour le Monde was awarded a Plug&Sun system, as were other Sunidarity winners.

Set up in the commune of Ambondro, near Ambovombe, the Plug&Sun system comprises two trackers capable of generating 2.28kWp for a total of up to 12kWh per day. Fondation Énergies pour le Monde has coupled the Plug&Sun trackers with a small electrical network combining a set of batteries and two wind turbines installed in 2010 to supply additional power and ensure the continuity of electricity generation for the whole village. The project is the first decentralized rural electrification operation of its kind in Madagascar.

A Soitec technician assisted in assembling the CPV systems on site, connecting them to the existing power system and training local technical personnel in maintenance and servicing.

Fondation Énergies pour le Monde and Soitec says that, through this operation, they are contributing to the fight against poverty by using a technical solution that matches the social context and energy usage of the community. Access to local, renewable energy helps to improve living conditions in terms of domestic comfort, health and education for rural populations and contributes to the development of income-generating activities, eliminating the need for fossil fuels, they add.

“The installation of a hybrid wind–solar system is a first, important step,” says Yves Maigne, director of Fondation Énergies pour le Monde. “Within a year, we will have sufficient feedback to be able to evaluate the system’s operation. That will help us decide on the use of Plug&Sun for eight other Malagasy villages already identified by our Foundation,” he adds.

“Our concentrating photovoltaic technology is especially well suited to areas that enjoy abundant sunlight, where the output from our modules is more than twice as high as that of standard photovoltaic products,” notes Gaetan Borgers, executive VP of the Solar Energy Division at Soitec. “Our range of products also means we are able to supply systems for power facilities generating hundreds of megawatts as well as to respond to off-grid project requirements.”

Soitec’s CPV technology uses triple-junction cells mounted on a glass plate. Fresnel lenses, manufactured using silicone on glass, concentrate sunlight 500 times before it reaches the cells. A metal frame holds two glass plates to form what are described as highly robust, durable and resilient modules. By combining several modules on biaxial trackers (which use a proprietary algorithm to automatically optimize their position based on the path of the sun), Soitec says that its technology maximizes energy generation throughout the day.

Designed to meet the energy needs of isolated sites, the Plug&Sun system comprises two or three trackers linked to an energy management system and a set of batteries. Each tracker consists of 12 CPV modules (with total surface area of 4.2m2) with peak power of 1.14kWp. Using an integrated battery system, the electricity produced during the day by the trackers can be stored and used to supply all kinds of electrical equipment. Plug&Sun takes only a few hours to install so it can be rolled out quickly, says Soitec.

See related items:

Soitec launches Sunidarity initiative with donation of Plug&Sun CPV mini-tracker to three development aid organizations

Tags: Soitec CPV modules

Visit: www.energies-renouvelables.org/fondation_energies_monde.asp

Visit: www.sunidarity.com

Visit: www.soitec.com

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