600kWp SU System
The 600 kWp grid connected Solar PV system was commissioned in mid-2014 and is installed across six different rooftops at the University. The system now caters for the electricity needs of the University and excess power is sold to the national grid under the first signed solar Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) between Kenya Power and Lighting Company and a private institution. The system is a pilot for electricity net metering in Kenya and serves as a demonstrational unit for practical training of professionals and solar technicians in the sector.
- PV modules: 2,400*250Wp
- PV inverters: 30*SolarEdge SE17K (17kW)
- DC Power Optimizers: 1,200*SolarEdge P600
- Grid Feed-in Points: 2 at 11kV
- Metering: Dual metering – export meters and import meters
- FiT @ USD 0.12/kWh
SERC was part of the team that came up with the concept of installing a solar PV system on campus to save on the electricity bill during the day. The system was designed to cater for the day consumption and feed any excess to the utility grid. During the night or when there is low solar resource, the utility connection provides the required demand. As at May 2021, the system has generated over 4.2GWh of clean energy, which is equivalent to saving 1,650,000 Kg of carbon emissions. On average, 78% of the electricity generated by the system is consumed, saving 30% of the University annual electricity bill.
Participants attending the T3 grid tie course get a chance to visit various rooftops to get hands-on training on the various aspects of designing, installing and operating a commercial/Industrial solar PV system. Further, they also get to view the monitoring platform that has module-level monitoring and reporting.
Testing Lab back up system
A 2.75kWp hybrid back up system is installed at the solar testing laboratory to provide continuous and quality power to the lab while conducting pro-longed solar component tests. The system has solar PV modules, battery storage and a hybrid inverter/charger from Studer Innotec that is also connected to the national grid with a transfer time of <15ms.
- PV modules: 11*250Wp
- Battery storage: Hoppecke OpZs solar.power 8*6V 400Ah
- Battery system voltage: 48V
- Inverter Charger: XTH 8000-48 (8kVA)
The system at the solar testing laboratory ensures there is always power supply with solar PV and utility connection available to charge the battery bank depending on the priority settings. Participants attending the T1/T2 and T3 training get hands-on experience on how a solar back-up system that can be installed in residential or commercial facilities functions. The system also has remote monitoring capabilities and can communicate via sim card (USSD) or over the internet.
Strathmore University Business School Carport
The first solar PV system that was installed at Strathmore University, the 10kWp carport solar system, provides a shade for six vehicles while feeding the solar power into the grid. A 10kW Huawei PV inverter is installed to harness power from the PV system and feeds to the grid.
- PV modules: 40*250Wp
- PV inverter: SUN2000-10KTL (10kW)
The solar system is comprised of 5kWp of monocrystalline and 5kWp polycrystalline PV modules. It was used to compare the yield over the different seasons of the year. The steel and concrete structure provides a car parking shade . It can also be used as a training tool to demonstrate how PV can be installed without compromising valuable space. This application is very common for residential and commercial/industrial facilities with open parking areas and would like to harness free energy from the sun.
Strathmore University and SMA Solar Technology AG have partnered to set up the first hosted solar academy in East and Central Africa. The system dubbed the “SMA Corner” consists of state-of-the-art equipment from SMA that demonstrates a grid connected solar PV setup, an off-grid hybrid battery-based system and a PV-diesel hybrid system. The system is used for training purposes and is also functional in that it powers the loads at the centre during grid failure.
- PV modules: 54*250Wp
- PV inverter: Tripower 15000TL-30
- Battery storage: 8*12V 400Ah
- Battery system voltage: 48V
- Inverter Charger: 6*Sunny Islands 6.0H
- PV-diesel hybrid: Fuel save control 1.0
- Diesel generator: FG Wilson 13.5
SERC and SMA have a working MoU that aims to provide technological know-how in PV to engineers, installers, project developers and PV EPCs in the region. SMA is one of the leading photovoltaic (PV) systems technology providers in the world. It provides solutions for residential, commercial and utility scale systems.
To offer hands-on practical sessions that are relevant in the market, the facility showcases various solar PV system configurations. These are:
- a grid connected solar PV system where the PV inverter is connected to the utility and supplies the loads, with grid feed-in or self-consumption,
- an off-grid solar system with battery storage and generator connection, which can be scaled to provide power in residential, commercial and community electricity supply,
- a PV-diesel hybrid system, where the PV inverter and diesel generator operate together to power the loads with the aim of saving fuel while the sun shines.
Solar Powered Cold-room
SERC in partnership with the University of Hohenheim has developed a course on solar powered cooling and refrigeration with a focus on the SelfChill® approach. The approach focuses on local production of solar cooling systems using off-grid solar energy in agricultural value chains. The approach utilized DC powered refrigeration components and combined ice storage for efficient cooling and PV utilization. The key component, the solar cooling unit, can be stacked together to expand the cooling capacity and it can be fabricated into an ice making machine, a cold-room, a milk chiller and many more systems.
- Cold-room volume: approximately 15m3
- PV modules: 6*345Wp
- Charge controllers: 3*MPPT 20A
- Battery storage: 6*12V, 100Ah
- Battery system voltage: 24V
The cold-room utilizes solar PV throughout the day to make ice that is stored in an insulated container. Inside the container, chilled water is pumped out into the liquid to air heat exchanger in the container to cool it. The monitoring and control circuitry enables one to set the desired cooling temperature, monitor the relative humidity, ambient temperature, energy from the PV system, power consumption, compressor speeds and much more.
T1/T2 Mobile Training Kit
To support the hands-on training on stand-alone solar power systems, SERC developed a mobile training kit that is the first of its kind and has a Utility Model with the Kenya Industrial Property Institute. The training kit is a functional stand-alone solar PV system on wheels that allows for quick and safe connection of system components, electrical measurements, tilting and orientation adjustments of the PV modules, maximum power point tracking and connection of electrical loads. Participants attending the T1/T2 course get to interact with the kit for a deeper understanding on solar PV modules, charge controllers, batteries, inverters and AC or DC loads.
- PV modules: 4*13Wp
- Charge controllers: 15A
- Battery storage: 12V, 10Ah
- Battery inverter: 350VA
Solar Water Pumping System
SERC has partnered with experts from the humanitarian sector to set up a course on solar powered water pumping systems. The five-day course targets technicians and engineers interested in learning how to design, install, commission, operate and maintain solar water pumps that can be used to extract underground or surface water for agricultural, residential, community and livestock water supply. The course covers concepts in solar photovoltaics, electrical wiring, motors, fluid dynamics, pump mechanics, hydrogeology, pump installation, borehole drilling and more. For practical exercises, participants install both submersible and surface pumps at the shallow well on-site.
- Surface pump system: Grundfos CM 10-3 with Grundfos RSI
- Submersible pump system: PS2-600 HR-04