Another large PV system in Ghana

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adam2
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Another large PV system in Ghana

Post by adam2 »

Details from my former neighbours in London.

For a large home and adjacent general store.

5Kw of PV on house roof, modules in series strings of five to give about 150 volts.
MPPT charge controllers charge the battery which is 24 volt nominal at over 2,000AH.
Maximum charge current is about 150 amps at just under 30 volts in optimum conditions.
In practice there is always some load and the net charging current seldom exceeds 100 amps.

The main loads are air conditioning, refrigeration, ice maker, deep well pump, and lighting.
Initially the system has not met with expectations due to the load being greater than anticipated.
Electric cooking was planned but its back to LPG for now, despite the great cost and intermittent availability thereof.

50% more PV is planned which should allow limited electric cooking.

Drinking water from the deep well is sold at ten cents per container (bring your own container, flat rate of ten cents for any container that one person can carry)

The total cost of the installation, but excluding appliances, was about $10,000. A government grant paid about 15% of this cost.
Another 2KW of PV will cost about $2,000.

Labour was very cheap, but not easily quantified as workers on a fixed weekly wage did other work also. Including building a large house.
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Post by kenneal - lagger »

You don't say anything about the inverter size as this will limit the usage. With our 3kW inverter we could run those loads but not all at the same time. The aircon and the deep well pump would be two things that we wouldn't run at the same time as both probably take a high starting current. If the refrigeration is of a domestic size that wouldn't cause a problem but if commercial stuff it would be something that wouldn't happily coexist with the aircon and pump.

I would be happy to run domestic lighting, if LED or even CFL, with domestic refrigeration, a computer, TV and a small appliance or two with one of the bigger loads at a time.
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Post by adam2 »

The inverter is 5Kw and is ample for two air conditioners, two large domestic fridges, and the ice maker.

The deep well pump has its own dedicated inverter and controller, this produces a variable frequency and voltage in order to maximise efficiency.

Lighting is mainly 24 volt fluorescent, average load about 200 watts. Yellow lamps are fitted in some fittings to avoid attracting insects.

The public area in front of the shop has a roofed shelter to give shade from the sun, but is open at the sides on account of the heat.
This area is lit with a couple of low pressure sodium lamps, very old tech, but preferred as they do not attract insects.
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Post by adam2 »

The extra PV capacity has now been installed and the installation is giving satisfaction.
Yellow fluorescent lamps have been very welcome as they do not attract insects. Yellow LEDs less satisfactory as some types emit just enough blue to attract pests.

The electricity supply now permits of electric cooking by induction rings, slow cooker, and microwave oven.

The general store has been a considerable success, especially the availability of cold beer and soft drinks.


A party of American tourists visited the area and complained that it looked "too modern" and that there "were no elephants" No elephants were promised! These animals do exist nearby in large numbers but are timid and seldom sighted.
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Post by adam2 »

The PV capacity has been increased again to just over 10Kw, due to increasing load.
A second inverter has been installed, several PCs and satellite internet.

Yellow fluorescent lamps are hard to obtain locally and had to be sent from England.
The general store is a great success with trade far exceeding expectations.

Almost all members of the owners extended family now ride electric bicycles, a most pleasant mode of transport in the generally warm conditions.
The Range Rover is a useful thing to have, but far too fond of petrol for frequent use. 7 MPG achieved on poor roads.
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Post by kenneal - lagger »

Reading through some of this thread again it occurred to me that they could do a lot of their heating using solar cookers. Far cheaper than all that additional electric gubbins.

My Discovery diesel averages about 20 to the gallon with a lot of off roading at tickover speed in low ratio and towing a 3.5t GVW trailer fully laden.
A party of American tourists visited the area and complained that it looked "too modern" and that there "were no elephants" No elephants were promised! These animals do exist nearby in large numbers but are timid and seldom sighted.
The whole world is a theme park for those Goddam Yanks! Us oiks really should behave ourselves and go back to whatever era they are expecting.

Mr Smugness has got me riled up today. Apologies to VT.
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Post by adam2 »

The great fuel consumption of the Range Rover is due to a combination of poor roads and continual use of the air conditioning.

What the owner wants is a lightweight, 4 wheel drive electric vehicle with a canvas roof to give shade, but open sides.
Something a bit like a golf cart but suited to poor roads and with 4 wheel drive. A golf cart was tried but "fell to bits"

Solar cooking finds little favour as it means being outdoors in the heat of the sun, rather than indoors.

Agriculture has been much improved by trying different crops to those traditionally grown. "English beans" and "English cale" are much grown.
I think that the later is what we call Kale, though spelt differently.
The tender inner leaves are picked for human food, most of the rest of the plant is eaten by cattle.
Peas are grown but are considered a luxury food.

Still no elephants though ! These majestic beasts are not welcomed as they are hugely destructive to crops and even lightweight buildings.
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Post by vtsnowedin »

kenneal - lagger wrote:
Mr Smugness has got me riled up today. Apologies to VT.
That is quite alright. I have no problem with people railing about Yanks behaving badly while abroad. For one I don't have to answer for every other Yanks behavior, and two I hope I never join the misbehaving group if I am ever abroad. Not that a visit anywhere now is likely with the current state of air travel.
I think every country has it's percentage of jerks in it's population and unfortunately that portion of a population is more likely to travel and annoy the receiving country's residents. And of course a real jerk is memorable while a good or average guest is soon forgotten.
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Re: Another large PV system in Ghana

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Update, by phone.
PV system working well and has been much admired. ANOTHER expansion is planned, to run a second ice machine, as many people want to buy ice.
The system is larger than is sensible at 24 volts, a 120 volt battery might have been better had it been planned rather than "just sort of grown"

Agriculture is going well, with much trying of different crops to those grown in the past. Potatoes grow well but tend to rot before they can be harvested. "English beans" are a major crop and hugely popular to eat, I have established that these are what we call broad beans. Soft fruits and tomatoes are considered luxury foods and fetch high prices, but attract pigeons which pests sometimes destroy the entire crop.
Wheat grows well, but finds little favour as it is very tedious to harvest by hand, and the area grown does not justify modern combine harvesting.

Maize is "only grown by the poor nowadays"
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Re: Another large PV system in Ghana

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Another update by phone.
Pv doing very well and meeting expectations. A second house has been built near the main building to serve as dormitory accommodation for staff. equipped with electric lights, ceiling fans, and TV.

"Nigerian pigeons" continue to destroy crops (everything bad in Ghana is blamed on Nigeria) A .22 rifle is the favoured means of destruction. I understand that civilians may posses repeating .22 rifles for pest control, but that larger bore weapons are restricted to single shot.

English beans grow well and are a significant food source in the area. The eating of raw beans straight from the plants is rather a new idea to some people, who used to believe that beans had to be dried, and then later cooked.
A very typical meal is cooked sweet potato, fried breast of pigeon, with raw beans. Cattle and goats are kept, pigs seldom, and sheep are unknown.
The eating of pigeons has allowed greater sales of livestock for meat.

Small scale cultivation of oil bearing crops was a failure and cooking oil has to be purchased. Butter can also be purchased but is hugely expensive and considered a luxury food.
"Installers and owners of emergency diesels must assume that they will have to run for a week or more"
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