IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - July/August 2014 - 47

Opportunities for Renewable Energy

off-grid solar energy would allow for a long-term sustainable electricity service; respond to the extreme necessity of
basic needs like lighting, communication, and community
services; supply other productive activities such as ice production; and be flexible enough to anticipate and accommodate the village's future needs.
A Renewable Solution

the implications of the different charging levels of the batteries as well as concepts having to do with a sustainable
and rational use of solar energy needed to be understood
by the end users and introduced into their daily habits. the
concept of an energy daily allowance (eDa) was therefore
introduced in the Monte trigo project. in february 2012,
the Monte trigo solar energy plant provided 60 of the 80
households in this cape Verdean village with an uninterrupted electricity supply for the very first time (see figure 6).
the eDa makes the demand control more intelligent and
flexible by introducing the idea that the energy available to
each user should be capped at an agreed maximum. this
ensures that the plant operates within its rated design and
there will be no blackouts or unforeseen increases in operating costs. also, backup diesel fuel consumption and components like batteries and inverters all operate within specified
ranges to increase efficiency and useful life. this limit is,
nevertheless, flexible according to the plant's condition, and
on very sunny days users are encouraged to make use of the
surplus generation at no extra cost.
in the initial phase of the project, the designers of the system interviewed users to assess their energy needs and their
willingness to pay for 24-hour service. this ensured that the
community felt involved, as each family was able to choose

Generador FV 1

figure 6. Monte Trigo, powered by a rural, multiuser solar
microgrid (photo courtesy of TTA).

the eDa monthly fee that best fit them. it also let technicians
understand in detail what would be the best technical solution for the village (see figure 7).
the eDa concept has been applied in other rural electrification projects in different cultures and parts of the
world, and it has been well accepted because it responds to
users' needs accurately, guides them through the management of energy use, and also establishes a fixed monthly
energy budget. the implementation is done through a
special type of meter (called an electricity dispenser) that
permanently shows the user the available energy allowance and includes a signal to encourage or discourage
consumption, always according to the power plant's condition (see figure 8).
the eDa is a vital design feature, as it is the element
from which the PV generator (and subsequently all the other
major system components) is sized. So it is essential to

Generador FV 2

Baterías OpZs 4,500 Ah

Baterías OpZs 4,500 Ah

Regulador RM480-12

Ondulador Studer XTH-8000-48

Regulador RM480-12

Ondulador Studer XTH-8000-48
G

Generador Eléctrico Trifasico

Consumos c.a.

Consumos c.a.

figure 7. The Monte Trigo system design (courtesy of TTA).
july/august 2014

ieee power & energy magazine

47



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - July/August 2014

IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - July/August 2014 - Cover1
IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - July/August 2014 - Cover2
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IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - July/August 2014 - Cover3
IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - July/August 2014 - Cover4
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