The Bandera Electric Cooperative in Texas has won a contract to install a solar-plus-storage microgrid in Liberia.
The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) awarded the 70 kW project, in Totota in eastern Liberia, which calls for 220 solar panels and 90 kWh of lithium-ion batteries and a backup diesel generator.
- When completed, the facility will be owned by a local electric cooperative. Most of Totota’s 6,400 residents currently have access to electricity via lead acid batteries and rented generators.
NRECA’s international arm has been involved in Liberia since 2014 when it supported rural electrification in the African country through programs run by the U.S. Agency for International Development.
USAID provided a $178 million investment grant for off-grid projects that resulted in a 24 kW solar pilot project in 2015, a biomass project a year later and a 1MW run-of-river hydroelectric project that is still being developed.
The solar-plus-storage project is expected to cost $600,000. NRECA has pledged to fund two-thirds of the total and is looking for public donations to supply the rest.
“Having an American electric cooperative help us provide a reliable and affordable energy solution to another cooperative in Liberia demonstrates not just the ability to help, but the willingness to cross borders to help communities,” Dan Waddle, NRECA international senior vice president, said in a statement.