Bamyan 1.05 MW Solar PV



SESI is the primary partner contracted to build the Bamyan Renewable Energy Project for the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.  Partnered with NetCon Ltd, who provided additional skills in building transmission and distribution lines, the project provides access to 24/7 power for 2,500 homes and business in the central Afghan province of Bamyan.

The project uses SMA inverters via the multicluster box system to seamlessly draw together PV, battery and diesel generator components.  Flooded lead acid batteries were selected for their cycle life and ability to handle the temperature variations that can be present in Afghanistan.  Supplied by Crown Battery, Ohio, USA, the battery strings are fitted with low water visual indicators and single point watering for simple and effective maintenance.  The use of SMA webbox units at each site provides SESI with the ability to provide a remote monitoring service to guide and assist the system operators and identify and tackle potential issues on site.

In addition to supply of physical infrastructure, this project included the capacity development of the local utility company Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat and incorporated a consumer education programme. The project is highly aware that without the proper training and support from the local population, the technology only approach cannot last.

The project, valued at US$14.2 million over 24 months, extended to the provision of project management and community engagements. Innovative aspects such as pre pay domestic power meters ensure that the revenues collected are sufficient to support the full operational costs of the installation.

The project continues to perform well through 2014, with consumer uptake and revenue collections growing.  SESI has also commissioned a very thorough baseline data survey of the participating communities.  Very professionally undertaken by team leader Dr Julienne Corboz of Eureka Research in Kabul, this will be a very valuable tool that SESI is able to measure project success in the future.  In addition to this, SESI has taken a comprehensive video record of construction stages and community attitudes and feelings towards the project startign from before construction commenced, so this will serve as an excellent comparision for expectations vs reality in future.  We look forward to reporting on this a year from now.

Overall outcomes included:

  • 1.05MW of electricity to be delivered from 5 off-grid array sites
    • 1 x 400kw array supporting Government District
    • 2 x 300kw array supporting seven major villages 
    • 2 x 300kw array supporting seven major villages 
    • 1 x 30kw array supporting Folaadi Valley Bazaar
  • Construction of an off grid Transmission and Distribution system to support the network.
  • Capacity Building Programme delivering a self sustaining local power utility with:
    • Full array of equipment

    • Professional, technical and safety trained staff with learning recognized by the Open Polytechnic of New Zealand

The Bamyan project utilises modern on and off grid solar technology to bring reliable power to 2,500 rural households in Bamyan, Afghanistan.  Combining  SMA's largest off grid format inverters, with large format deep cycle flooded lead acid batteries from Crown, and solar PV panels from LS, a very modern and seamless renewable energy package delivers power through a 21 kV transmission network and pre paid domestic meters to ensure electrical services that are both financially and technically robust and sustainable.