Microgrids and Metrogrids

In September 2022, SunGate Solar and its partners, Humanitarian Grand Challenges, Village Help for South Sudan, Dunn Family Charitable Foundation, EarthSpark International, and PowerGen launched South Sudan’s first solar microgrid in the rural market town of Wanyjok combining a solar array (55 kWp), battery storage (84 kWh/36kVA), and a diesel genset (66 kVA) to deliver clean, reliable, and affordable electricity access to the downtown area.

The initial microgrid is serving 164 connections (~1000 people), the majority of which are small businesses and institutions including pharmacies, health clinics, computer/printing centers, retail stores, and restaurants. This life-changing access to electricity has improved the adaptive capacity and resilience of the community and particularly its business / institutional customers primarily by reducing baseline energy expenditures from unreliable and costly diesel generators and increasing opportunities for local enterprises.

0 %
Sungate Customers

highlighted no change or a decrease in energy expenses

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Business/Institutional Clients

highlighted improvements in business operations

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Security Improvement

Clients community was now a safer place due to the microgrid service.

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Growth Roadmap

Clients suggested expansion to more customers and communities.

More broadly, the lives of the entire community of Wanyjok (~20,000 people) have also been improved from the microgrid power, particularly through the street lighting for the downtown market area. Healthcare has improved due to access to reliable electricity, local entertainment businesses are opening later into the night and earlier in the day, and people are feeling more secure with a well-lit marketplace. All of this helps to bolster community resilience and socio-economic development.

Overall, the successful microgrid project in Wanyjok has created developed a highly replicable and scalable model for addressing energy poverty and South Sudan. This initial model also provides a key foundation to explore how strategic electricity access coupled with focused support for enterprise and community development can build resilience for communities, households, and businesses.

SunGate is now working with regional governments to develop additional microgrids as well as scale to much larger “metrogrids” to serve regional capitals.

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Before the mini-grid, diesel power was very expensive and it wasn’t reliable at all. What was worse is that the power surges would constantly damage our computers and equipment - we would sometimes lose 1-2 machines a month. Now, the mini-grid provides cheaper, more reliable power and I don’t have to worry about damage to my computers - I can just focus on teaching my students!

Daniel Koch, Owner, Sahara Computer Center.