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Elites Feature: Goma hybrid solar project in the Democratic Republic of Congo

For Nuru, commissioning the Goma smart power plant was the first step in a large-scale project to forge economic and social development.

In February 2020, six months after construction this 1.3MW hybrid solar project was ready to supply outlying areas of Goma City that were side-lined from electrification projections.

Since commissioning, the installation attracted several institutions that saw it as a viable solution to community problems.

This profile was published in the African Power & Energy Elites 2023.
Read the full mobile-friendly magazine here.

The Goma Hybrid Solar plant in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is currently the largest off-grid mini-grid in the sub-Saharan Africa. The 1.3MW plant is one of four smart solar sites with a combined capacity of 1.693MW operated by Nuru. These plants combine three energy source: solar modules, batteries and diesel generators.

Each site includes several lightning rods and weather sensors that feed data into the Tesla algorithm. These sensors correlate information between changes in weather and consumption data at any given time.

“A 1.3MW capacity smart hybrid solar power plant located in the Kivu Province capital, Goma City, DRC. This plant uses high-quality Tesla lithium battery packs to serve 2,100 households, SMEs, C&Is and social institutions.”

In 2022, the focus was to provide 24/7 service, which resulted in a 99% system uptime for the 2,600 connections (15,000+ direct beneficiaries), 740 businesses and 109 social and community services. The sites reportedly avoided 700MT CO2e, delivered over 2,485MWh along with 433 streetlight installations, and employed 90 people. Nuru’s technicians are qualified to do the necessary maintenance on installed Tesla Powerpack batteries.

The strength of large-scale hybrid solar models lies in the possibility of adding capacity as demand increases and, above all, interconnecting between sites and with other sources such as hydropower.

In 2024, Nuru plans to increase the Goma site’s capacity to 5MW and source cleaner back-up generator fuel. ESI

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ESI Africa
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