SMA Solar Technology AG (SMA) and its subsidiary SMA Sunbelt Energy have commissioned a solar hybrid system in Malindi, in East Africa.

The installation work was done by SMA Solar Technology's subsidiary SMA Sunbelt Energy.

SMA Sunbelt Energy Project Development head Enrique Garralaga said: “The 1 MW PV Hybrid System with the SMA Fuel Save Controller 2.0 combines the PV system, electricity grid and diesel generators and ensures that the solar power is used completely for the operation of the factory.

”A special challenge in the project was the restricted local availability of key components and logistics burdens. Thanks to our local installation partner, Kenyan based Harmonic Systems, the construction was conducted fast and reliable, so that our engineers commissioned the system within record time.”

Krystalline Salt managing director Deepak Patel said: “Even while constructing the factory, we had planned space for a PV system to reduce our carbon footprint and the amount of electricity generated with diesel generators.

"As members of the United Nations Global Compact initiative, we are committed to the Global Sustainability Goals. Therefore, sustainable production and clean energy solutions are very important to us.

"I am happy that the PV Hybrid System entered operation ahead of schedule and we can save about 25% annual electricity costs in the future thanks to a 55% solar power share during daylight hours.”

Responsible for the implementation of the project was the project planner SolarAfrica, specialized in financing solar solutions in Africa.

SolarAfrica project developer Kobus Van Tonder said: “Advanced technology utilized by our experienced and reliable partners allowed us to execute this project efficiently and to the highest industry standard."

PV Hybrid applications reduce electricity costs considerably and the payback is just a few years. Projects such as the PV Hybrid System for the Kaysalt factory are therefore an interesting business model for diesel genset operators and independent power producers.

The PV penetration in these systems can be increased by means of battery-based storage systems and such systems are becoming particularly popular at the moment.

SMA Sunbelt Energy offers fully integrated projects including battery inverters such as Sunny Island and Sunny Central Storage from SMA.