Ha Makebe is a un-electrified village located not far from Maseru with a population of around 900 people. Ha Makebe is the site of our minigrid Pilot Project, in collaboration with the National University of Lesotho and the enthusiastic members of the community. We are proud that this project has the full support of the Ha Makebe Chief, the Local Council, the local schools, and the participating households and businesses.
This initiative has already encompassed modeling of technical and economic viability and installation of a small section of the power generation hardware to demonstrate our technical approach and customer engagement strategy. Community interactions have also been critical to the design, as well as commissioning an independent third-party evaluation of the environmental and social impact assessment and technical design. In addition to ensuring a successful roll-out to the whole community of Ha Makebe, this independent study will also provide valuable input across OnePower’s minigrid portfolio.
PV panels harvest the most energy when pointed directly at the sun; to increase the energy yield of community PV systems OnePower has designed, prototyped, and developed a tracking PV module that is cost effective and proudly manufactured in Lesotho. The trackers orient towards the sun autonomously, intended for use in rural areas.
OnePower recognizes the challenges inherent in designing an energy system for communities that currently have no infrastructure – and therefore little-to-no historical information about energy usage for our team to learn from. In response OnPower has developed a technical design tool (termed “uGrid”, short for “microGrid”) to optimally size its mini-grid generation systems. uGrid determines optimal system configuration (how many PV panels, how much battery capacity, etc.) based on available data, including population, amount of sun each day over the year, projected energy demand (based on similar communities in southern Africa that are already electrified), and the performance characteristics of system components.