Five tonnes of fish a day are produced by the Complex Agro Industrial de Baragnouma fish farm in Mali. One of the biggest challenges is maintaining a continuous power supply for the water treatment plant. A 30-minute power outage would mean the death of all the fish in the pools, resulting in huge financial losses.
In order to ensure a stable power supply, the company decided back in 2014 to cover as much of its needs as possible with photovoltaic energy.
|With the solar system providing 98% of the firm’s energy requirements, only 2% is provided by backup diesel generators.|
The installation consists of seven systems, the PV capacity is 312 kWp. If the company were to generate the equivalent amount of electricity using diesel generators, the annual cost would be $260,000 – a figure that does not include the costs of transporting the fuel, intensive maintenance of the generators and service costs.
In just four years, the fish farm has saved over one million dollars thanks to the photovoltaic MicroGrid.
The installation owners were just as demanding when it came to the quality of the system components. The combination of inverters from Fronius and inverters/chargers from Victron promises perfect compatibility, including for monitoring purposes.
As usual, yields from the PV system can be checked via the Fronius Solar.web online platform. However, this data can also be sent to the Victron Portal.
Fronius inverters are known for how easy they are to install, with the Fronius Eco inverters being commissioned by local installers. Should servicing or maintenance be necessary, the local installers can repair the device without delay thanks to the PC board replacement technology. With Fronius inverters, you do not need to replace the entire device, but only one PC board. This saves on ongoing operating costs, as a single service technician only needs to be called out once to perform the necessary work.
The Fronius inverters were installed at the fish farm in an outdoor location. With an IP 65 protection class, this is no problem. Yet the real showstopper is the active cooling technology, which means the inverters can produce maximum yields even at high outside temperatures, as the derating process is not activated until much later.
Furthermore, active cooling extends the service life of the inverter by keeping the temperature of the power electronics constantly low. Unlike inverters with passive cooling technology, Fronius devices do not have to be regularly serviced. This has a positive effect on the long-term operating costs and results in the PV system paying back its installation costs more quickly.
Another factor that speaks in favour of the PV system is the noise. Diesel generators are extremely noisy. For farm employees, the use of the PV system means a much more pleasant working climate, as the system is much quieter than a diesel engine. In addition, the PV system produces green electricity and the fish farm is reducing its CO2 emissions.