Who, what & where

•    Trama TecnoAmbiental (TTA) 
•    PV energy powers a village of 20 homes (no diesel backup)
•    Las Balsas community, Parroquia San Gregorio, Muisne, Esmeraldas, Ecuador
•    Project developed in 2012

The Company

Trama TecnoAmbiental (TTA) is an international consulting and engineering firm working since 1986 in the field of renewable energies. TTA specializes in distributed generation through renewable energy sources (RE), energy management and efficiency, rural electrification, self-generation, integration of RE in buildings and sustainable architecture, as well as specialized training, education and technological development related to its activities. In rural electrification, TTA has been involved in studies, policy and implementation in many developing countries, especially RE microgrids. 

The Challenge

Due to the impact on the project’s financial sustainability, ensuring that a long-lasting battery is operational over its lifetime is necessary. Besides, the energy supply depends on resource availability and the technical conditions of the area and thus ensuring that the limited solar resource is shared without conflicts and ensuring service reliability is the main challenge. The energy management provisions in place using Energy Dispensers allow for a rational electricity supply and ensure that equipment operates within safe technical thresholds.
The community has a nucleus population of 12 families, plus 8 more disperse households, besides communal uses.  To reach all dwellers a combination of technical solutions was implemented through a solar micro grid to supply 12 interconnected families and communal services, plus 8 individual installations for the houses located further from the nucleus. All users remain under the same operation scheme, which eases the O&M of the system and is not exclusive to the village nucleus.

Renewable Solution

Las Balsas is a community within the canton of Muisne, in the municipality of Esmeraldas in Ecuador.  The village is isolated, but radiation conditions are good (avg. radiation 3,79 kWh/m2/day).

With a mixture of clustered and scattered buildings in the village, the solution is based on a combination of a solar PV micro-grid and individual PV micro power plants under the same operation scheme.  Thus, electricity is supplied to households and communal services like street lighting, school, and community house. TTA’s award winning Energy Dispensers  are used with a project-tailored tariff system to ensure the energy usage is according to the resource availability and the technical conditions.
In the microgrid, a single 9,2 kWp PV generator (without diesel generator backup) supplies a DC coupled micro power plant with a 107 kWh battery storage and 7 kVA battery inverter, for 12 households and communal services. The 8 solar PV individual installations have each 384 Wp, 3.2 kWh storage, and a 650 VA inverter. All consumers are supplied with 120Vac electrical energy. Thin film Si PV modules used to reduce temperature related losses
The system is managed and operated by the community which created a Rural Electrification Board, which is composed of community members. 

Project Financing

Initial investment: The project has been financed by a grant from the Municipality of Barcelona, Spain, and executed by the Spanish NGO SEBA, the local counterpart FEDETA and technology partner Trama TecnoAmbiental (TTA).
Operational costs and sustainability: Tariffs are flat rate, fixed for consumption level (in the microgrid, between 1000 Wh/day and 1650 Wh/day for households; 550 Wh/day for the individual systems) pre-contracted and decided with community. Energy dispensers designed by TTA offer dynamic energy management.