Electrifying Myanmar with a Hybrid battery system ! A lifetime experience
- May 7, 2019
- 197 views
Recently, we at BOS executed a remote minigrid project in Myanmar. Here is a brief of the project!
Mergui Archipelago (locals call it Myeik) is untamed beauty comprising of 800 islands, with beautiful mangrove forests! Most of these are uninhabited and untouched, while some of them are sparsely populated and off-grid. One of these islands is Kenti island, which is 3 hours of drive with 20 minutes ferry from the port city of Myeik. Around 2500 people call Kenti island their home and the major sources of income are from fishery, rubber plantation, farming, shop owners, small workshops (welding/grinding to minor repair of ships/boats) and rice mill.
Until 2017, island received power for only 4 hrs in the evening from a 50kVA generator owned by a private individual on the island. People paid 650Kyats/kWh (USD 0.6/kWh) and there was a minimum unit usage (10units/month), which means the villagers had to pay minimum of 6,500Kyats (USD6) per month regardless of utilizing full units or not. The 4 hours of energy in the evening was not sufficient for the villagers, as they couldn’t use it for anything apart from lights and phone charging, add to it the high cost of energy which was one of the major expenses. Under the NEP program with the support from World Bank and DRD, a 63kWp 288kWh lead acid minigrid was built in June 2017. The minigrid was well accepted and villagers started to buy fans, refrigerators, rice cookers, washing machine and what not. Until recently, the minigrid worked fine but since few months the capacity had fallen short as the energy demand had shot up significantly, increasing the diesel generator runtime significantly, which increased the cost of energy to the developer. The company which owned the minigrid, Techno-Hill approached BOS AG (BOS) for a solution to expand the minigrid capacity to cater to the growing energy demands. BOS installed 6 HS10000 solution, which is a Lithium based plug and play solution with inbuilt Victron inverters and MPPT Charge controllers. This was going to be a Hybrid of Lithium and Lead acid system, the combination of 2 batteries helped to reduce the cost while keeping the performance and life as good as pure lithium.
To Reach Kenti island, we had to take a flight from Yangon to Myeik, a taxi ride from Myeik to a jetty and a boat ride. Road to Kenti island from Myeik was quite rough which was distracted by thick rubber plantation. On reaching the jetty, a small boat ferried us to the village in 20 mins.
Our daily shuttle to the village. No better than a fancy subway!
Equipment getting loaded on to the ferry
All set for installation!
Our team members from Techno Hill were happy that they didnt need to carry heavy lead acid batteries this time, as logistics on these islands is quite a nightmare since everything need to be hand carried due to unavailability of forklifts. People on the island seemed quite happy seeing the equipment, as this meant that they can now do more things with the minigrid like power an ice making machine!
The installation started with PV Panels, an additional 48kWp of Solar PV was installed on top of 63kWp which already existed!
On Power system side, 6 Multiplus 5kVA inverters and 12 150/70 MPPT charge controller and 60kWhr Lithium Iron were added to the system.
After 2 weeks of hard work in the hot and humid Myanmar weather (getting bitten by mosquitoes and sand flies was special experience!), installation was completed.
In the background, the old schneider system with XW inverters can be seen with Lead acid batteries from Luminous. The right side of the picture shows HS10000 with Victron components inside the box. The new system capacity was 111kWp PV, 288 (Pb)+60 (Li) kWhr battery backup with 51kVA (XW inverters) + 30kVA (Multiplus).
The project has been running since February, has helped the developer Techno-Hill to reduce the diesel consumption significantly. The Lithium capacity can further be increased as and when needed, as HS10000 is very modular and scalable!
It is incredible how the power has changed the lives of these island people; it seems like the village comes alive after the sunset with so many activities going around on the island. Fishermen export their fresh sea catch to Thailand and Japan everyday in the evening, school children study together, people hangout over a beer (yes, they can now chill the beer!).