juwi builds off-grid hybrid PV system in Egyptian desert

  • The hybrid system will generate electricity to power water pumps and a desalination plant in the Egyptian desert.
    The hybrid system will generate electricity to power water pumps and a desalination plant in the Egyptian desert.

German renewable energy specialist juwi has constructed its first project in Egypt — an off-grid hybrid system which consists of a 50kW PV system, four small wind turbines and a battery storage unit.

Located in Wadi El Natrun, a valley surrounded by barren desert land situated between Cairo and Alexandria, the hybrid system will generate electricity to power several water pumps for irrigation as well as a plant for desalination of groundwater. The battery system, which has a storage capacity of 500kWh, will ensure that the water pumps and desalination plant are able to operate 24 hours a day.

The project utilises technical equipment, PV modules and inverters delivered from Wörrstadt, Germany while the four small turbines were delivered from the Netherlands. juwi worked with an Alexandria-based electricity company to build the hybrid system in just two weeks.

Fabian Jochem, Head of Department of Off-grid at juwi said: "It was an emotional moment when, after two weeks of continuous work, the plant went into operation. Middle of the night, in the headlights of a pickup truck, we have the pump for the first time started! Bubbling and the water.”

Jochem’s colleague Norbert Borchert added: "We have not only brought water to the desert, but also passed on our knowledge to the people who can use it here immediately. Also explains why the project was worthwhile. With the new hybrid system is also the old diesel generator superfluous. This is good for the environment and saves fuel costs. The diesel generator was not only old, extremely loud and dirty, but also very maintenance intensive."

The company has been able to monitor the system from Germany via the GSm mobile phone network. Potential interference can be identified and corrected in real-time through local service companies.

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