"The sun rises in the East" : After Djoum, Eneo Cameroon commissions its second hybrid solar-thermal power plant in Lomié

Lomié, July 29, 2020. Eneo Cameroon announces the commissioning on 27 July, in Lomié, Eastern Region, of its second photovoltaic power plant, after Djoum at the end of 2017.

With a capacity of 125 kilowatts peak (kWp) and built on an area of nearly 2000 m², the hybrid solar power plant in Lomié has 386 panels. It operates off-grid during the day, from 07:00 to 18:00. At night, from 6 pm to 9.30 pm, the thermal power station takes over, allowing the solar batteries to recharge.

It is a power plant with storage, with inverter-chargers that are "Grid forming", i.e. they produce the grid, and therefore the voltage and frequency necessary to generate energy independently, even if the thermal power plant is unavailable. This makes it possible to continuously and completely supply the heart of the city, which has a peak load of 90 to 95 kW.

In addition to contributing to the reduction of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions, Eneo's objective is to provide a better quality service than that of a conventional single-source system, to cushion the impact of rising fuel prices and to reduce operating costs. Hybridization provides an opportunity for isolated regions to access potable water, basic health care, education and other essential services that rely heavily on electricity.

For Eric Mansuy, Managing Director of Eneo Cameroon"After the Djoum pilot project came on stream at the end of 2017, we have gained experience at all levels of the chain. Today, we confirm that the sun rises in the East, and reiterate our calls to local economic players to invest in this green energy, a real opportunity, especially with infrastructure costs falling more and more. We can now duplicate our know-how wherever the means allow. We are ready to work with the actors interested in the sector to accelerate access to electricity in rural areas through decentralized production.

The project is part of Eneo's Solar Program. A call for tenders is underway for the studies and construction of similar parks (hybridization) on nine sites (Banyo, Bertoua, Garoua-Boulai, Kousseri, Moloundou, Poli, Touboro, Yokadouma and Yoko), each with an remote thermal power plant.” 

According to Chebienka Leslie Langsi, the Chief Generation Officer at Eneo Cameroon"Since the commissioning of the solar park, the thermal power plant has seen its injected quantities of energy decrease from 100% to about 78%, hence a contribution of 22% of the solar energy in the supply of the city. In Lomié, we inject solar energy into the remote grid during the day and thermal energy at night. The fuel savings recorded during the day can be used in the evening to better cover the demand. In addition, the operating time of the thermal units is reduced, which lessens the risk of breakdowns, and therefore allows better availability of the machines. The 125 kWp of solar power adds up to the local installed thermal capacity (667 kW) to improve the supply.”

For Eneo's Regional Director for the East, Babba Issou, "Since the solar power plant was commissioned, we have had operational flexibility that ensures better continuity of service".

Since mid-September 2019, the hybrid power plant in Djoum has seen its solar capacity double from 186 kWp to 369 kWp. The amount of clean energy injected into the small town has increased considerably, from around 10% of the electricity consumed to just over 26%. 

In the Grand North, Eneo has signed a memorandum of understanding with a consortium of developers for the construction of two ground-mounted photovoltaic power plants with a capacity of 25 MWp (10 in Guider and 15 in Maroua). The environmental studies have already been carried out and compensation for the local residents of the sites is underway. COVID 19 has impacted the implementation schedule, but efforts are being made to ensure the installation of these facilities in 2021.

In Cameroon, the increase in electricity production often faces the physical limits of the transmission and distribution networks. Part of our territory, particularly in the East and the Grand North, is supplied by non-interconnected grids, and towns and villages are supplied from autonomous power plants. In terms of renewable energies, efforts should focus on these areas to improve coverage.