PROCEED: A highlight on the insightful research fieldtrip to mini-grid communities in Namibia

26 kWp decentralised solar system at Tsumkwe secondary school

Gam’s 292 kWp mini-grid, Namibia

Tsumkwe weather station installed by team THI

From the 19th to the 27th of November 2022 under the PROCEED project, a scientific research trip was carried out in Namibia’s off-grid communities.
Team Technische Hochschule Ingolstadt (THI) began the trip by attending a workshop in Windhoek, organized by GiZ in collaboration with the Namibian Ministry of Mines and Energy (MME) to discuss Namibia’s electrification plans. In connection to rural electrification and off-grid communities, it was especially a highlight that the work done by THI within the PROCEED project was numerously cited and referenced as an exemplary of methods to understand existing off-grids and emphasizing the need to collect relevant data. Important conversations in relation to the project were held with the Central North Regional Electricity Distributor (CENORED) to solidify the consistency of on-ground work and prospective next steps.
Joined with the Namibia Energy Institute (NEI), the team then embarked on a journey to the largest off-grid community in Namibia, Tsumkwe as well as its adjacent village, Gam. Over the previous years, the Tsumkwe main mini-grid was noted to be incapable to supply electricity for the whole Tsumkwe off-grid community. This discovery, drove team THI to install a 26 kWp decentralized solar system commissioned at the Tsumkwe secondary school in the previous fieldtrip. It was noticed in this visit that the secondary school could manage all administrative and teaching programs without blackouts since system commissioning.
However, it was also noted that the Tsumkwe and Gam communities are yet growing and an increase of electrical appliances across all settlements typologies was observed. From the research the team achieved a better understanding of the electricity consumption, collected metrological data from the installed weather station and mini-grid data.
The collected data is currently being analysed and serves an important role in recommending mini-grid expansion and decentralized solutions for such off-grid community situations to complement electricity access increase in Namibia and Sub-Saharan Africa as a whole.
The project PROCEED is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and part of the CLIENT II initiative.