The plants are spread over five sites, each equipped with a battery storage system and separate circuit for independent and reliable power supply of the main consumers, e.g. for medical care centre. The plants were built at the University of Nigeria in Nsukka and at the Centre for Atmospheric Research - National Space Research and Development Agency (CAR - NASRDA) in Abuja.
The YESPVNIGBEN research project is led by Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH and funded by BAMF. On behalf of Forschungszentrum Jülich, SUNfarming has installed the training and research facilities as dual-use concepts "Food & Energy".
In addition to supplying energy, the facilities are used for research purposes. Professors at the university report: "Unfortunately, there is no proper electricity supply in Nsukka and the rest of the country. There are frequent power outages. The duration of the outages varies, sometimes it takes days. This is why obtaining important scientific data, in addition to the supply of electricity, is so important."
Other areas of research include
- Light transmission of the modules and effects on the cultivation of vegetables and herbs
- Temperature of the modules in connection with performance and service life
- A weather station measures the environmental parameters, the data is analysed online
All systems were assembled by local teams under the guidance of SUNfarming engineers. Necessary further assembly, repair and maintenance work will be carried out independently by these trained local employees in the future. Support from Germany is guaranteed at all times. To ensure operational safety, the entire system will be evaluated via a digital monitoring platform.
"Africa is a key partner in the fight against climate change, with the aim of enabling Africa to deal with the consequences of climate change, but it is also about a new partnership for sustainable energy supply." In the project YESPV-NIGBEN, German know-how is being developed helping to improve the food supply in West Africa, we are using research and innovation to support sustainable business models and perspectives for the people in their home countries of Nigeria and Benin, "said Research Minister Thomas Rachel.
With the three-year project YESPV-NIGBEN ("Earnings analysis and socio-economic impact assessment of photovoltaic-assisted food production and drying in the tropical climate of Nigeria-Benin"), researchers from Nigeria, Benin and Germany are contributing to solving this problem To reduce land use conflicts between agriculture and energy production, combined "photovoltaic greenhouses" are developed for the cultivation of fruits and vegetables. The photovoltaic system adapted to local conditions allows power to be generated for the greenhouse and the local utility grid. Greenhouses are the basis for a predictable, continuous production of food. At the same time, drying systems are operated with solar energy, and ventilation and management systems are developed. The goal: to make local crops more effective than before. Thus, surpluses can be processed in large quantities.
"We were in Nigeria and Abuja in August at the Kick Off Meeting“, explains Holger Schönherr, SUNfarming project partner. "Every fifth inhabitant of Africa is starving. Heavy rainfall periods alternate with extreme drought. In Nigeria and Benin enough food can be produced, but the distribution and preservation represent two of the major problems. Thus 60% of the crops rot at harvest time. At SUNfarming, we are convinced that we can contribute to food safety through sustainable energy and drying processes with Food & Energy plants, "Holger Schönherr continues.
When handing over the funding certificates: (from left) Prof. Uwe Rau, Director of the Institute of Photovoltaics, Dr. med. Solomon Agbo, Corporate Development, Board Member Prof. Harald Bolt, Mobolaji Sakirat Ogundero, Deputy Nigerian Ambassador to Berlin, Secretary of State Thomas Rachel MdB, Peter Schrum, SUNfarming, and Prof. Ulrich Schurr, Director of the Institute of Plant Sciences
Copyright: Forschungszentrum Jülich / Ralf-Uwe Limbach