AEG Power Solutions Provides Microgrid Power Solution for African Mall

AEG Power Solutions, a global provider of power supply systems and solutions for all types of critical and demanding applications, has successfully commissioned its 1 MW capacity Convert SC Flex in the Rembrandt Mall project in Paarl, South Africa

Solar-powered 1.2 MWh lithium-ion battery energy storage powers a shopping center and protects against daily blackouts in Paarl, South Africa. (Image source: AEG Power Solutions)

The storage converter forms an island grid with solar panels and lithium-ion batteries, allowing the shopping center to be independent of the local public electricity grid during the day.

The South African power grid faces several outages daily, especially during peak hours of 7-10 a.m. in the morning and 6-8 p.m. in the evening. Prices per kWh vary between 2.20 RAND at peak times and 1.20 RAND at midday to 0.80 RAND at night. Since the energy crisis in 2008, Eskom’s electricity prices have skyrocketed eight times over their initial rates. While energy prices strongly depend on the peak of consumption and the notification period, the new system contributes to reducing peaks of consumption, by lowering the prices of energy contracts to a minimum.

Rembrandt Mall is now taking its energy independence into its own hands by combining photovoltaic panels with a 0.9 MWh energy storage battery to form its own grid with advanced hybrid inverter (uninterruptible power supply) capabilities. A storage converter is connected to the electricity grid and charges the batteries overnight at low electricity prices. During the day, the system goes into off-grid mode powering the mall through the connected solar panels. The second converter forms the local microgrid and works as an inverter which is backed up by a generator set to cover winter and rainy seasons.

Currently, the system includes eleven 82 kWh batteries and will be expanded in the coming weeks to a total battery capacity of 1.2 MWh. “The decision to use lithium-ion batteries was based on their long life of 6000 charge cycles, which leads to a battery life of around 15 years in the current configuration. Another advantage of AEG Power Solutions The storage converter is its grid-friendly integration with low harmonics, which is an important factor for low-stability power grids,” explained Dawie Joubertthe mall owner.

The system has been fully operational since July 2021 and has an expected payback period of four to five years.



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Peggy P. Gilmore