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The main thrust of this study is on design of minigrid PV solar systems for rural electrification in Nigeria. Based on available literature, it was discovered that the majority of rural communities in developing countries lack access to electricity due to the high cost of transmission, impeding their development. According to one perspective, rural communities in Nigeria lack grid-connected energy. The objective of this project was to design an ideal photovoltaic (PV) mini-grid capable of supplying electricity and energy to the rural community. To obtain the best results, local communities in Aba, Nigeria were visited and questionnaires were used to collect data . The solar mini-grid data collecting process includes gathering information about the installed capacity and size of various system components, as well as load statistics, energy consumption, and power requirements. These data studies established the inefficiency of this system. Photovoltaic panels were determined to be overly large, whereas storage batteries were determined to be excessively little. Thus, a model for optimizing this existing mini-grid was constructed, simulated, and validated using data from the same mini-grid using HOMER software. The software analyzed various different input configurations (photovoltaic panel, battery, power inverter, and cost) and recommended the most cost-effective ones. The best findings, which correspond to the ideal solar mini-grid, were obtained at a 3% capacity deficit, implying that the mini-grid can stably meet load at a rate of 97 percent throughout the year. Peak power and daily energy requirements are projected to be approximately 7.5 kW and 51 kWh, respectively. This will be accomplished with 16 kW photovoltaic panels, a 192 kWh battery bank capable of storing enough energy to power the home for three days on overcast days, and a 12 kW power inverter. The mini-power grid's distribution system was built as a single phase supply with two wires and a 230 V distribution voltage. The community's design necessitated the distribution of electricity via three feeds from the power plant. Feeder 1 is 0.4 kilometers long and requires 4.2 kilowatts of power at a 4.5 percent voltage drop; feeder 2 is 0.45 kilometers long and requires 3.9 kilowatts of power at a 4.7 percent voltage drop; and feeder 3 is 0.45 kilometers long and requires 5.9 kilowatts of power at a 4.4 percent voltage drop. According to these investigations, conductors of same size exhibit varying voltage drop and power losses depending on the load being electrified and the distance between the load and the producing plant. The life cycle cost technique was used to determine the economics of the planned system. This study recommends that the entire community be install a mini-grid-connected solar system in order to harness appropriate solar resources and save money on electric bills, as well as for rural communities to function as a leader in promoting solar energy adoption and attracting a clique of solar specialists.



1.1 Background of the Study

Electricity supply is a concern in a huge number of countries throughout the world. Over 1.3 billion people in developing countries lack access to electricity, with over 600 million living in Africa, which has a rate of electrification of less than 13%. This issue stymies the progress of many African regions, as several economic operations cannot be carried out after dark. Similarly, access to education and health care becomes more challenging (Luciane, 2015). Solar photovoltaic systems are desired because they help to natural resource conservation and mitigate the effects of fossil fuel use in remote areas (Jeannine, 2017).

Nigeria is located in a high-sunshine zone and hence has tremendous solar energy potential. Nonetheless, solar radiation is evenly distributed over the country, making almost every location appropriate for solar photovoltaic (PV) applications.

In Nigeria, solar radiation levels range between 3.5 and 7.0 kWh/M2/day, with the highest values in the country's extreme north. Solar energy is the most promising renewable energy source in Nigeria due to its abundance. The Ilenikhena (Ilenikhena) (2010). Bugaje [2006] argued that solar energy in Nigeria complements rapid industrialisation and reduces rural-urban migration, and further stated that the country's energy needs could be met if only 0.1 percent of total solar energy radiated on land mass is transformed at a 1% efficiency. The sun emits around 3.8×1023 kilowatts of energy every day, which equals to 1.082 million tons of oil equivalent. Sambo Sambo Sambo (2005).

Nigeria receives an average of 1.804×1015 kWh of incident solar energy every year, based on the country's land area of 924×103 km2 and an average solar energy production of 5.535 kilowatt hours per square meter per day. The country receives an average of 6.5 hours of sunlight per day, and the annual solar energy value is over 27 times the value of the country's total fossil energy resources in energy units and more than 115,000 times the value of the electrical power generated by Augustine and Nnabuchi (2009). Nonetheless, Nigeria's present solar energy installation is insignificant in compared to South Africa, which has more than 200,000 off-grid photovoltaic (PV) systems. Additionally, the country benefits from a favorable radiation environment, which can help accelerate the expansion of solar photovoltaic energy when used properly, provided that appropriate energy policies are implemented. Solar energy may be used to power a variety of devices, including light bulbs in residential buildings, street lights, and billboards. Additionally, solar energy is a highly reliable source of energy that may be used to power industrial plants and machinery. Solar energy generation has become a requirement in Nigeria's rural areas, where the majority of villages still lack access to electricity. In the majority of settlements, solar energy is mostly used to power refrigerators, hospital, and laboratory equipment. Solar energy can also be used to power water pumps and to offer outside coverage for media and television organizations.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Solar energy has been widely employed to electrify off-grid communities in a number of disadvantaged countries across the world, with different degrees of success. South Asia benefited (Palit and Chaurey, 2011), Tanzania and Mozambique benefited (Ahlborg & Hammar, 2014), while South Africa benefited (Ahlborg & Hammar, 2014). (2014) (Ahlborg & Hammar) (Lemaire). Additionally, a cost-effective solution has been identified for electrifying rural areas in Sub-Saharan Africa with  Nigeria inclusive.

Baurzhan and Jenkins, (2016) Javadi et al. (2013) discovered that when grid extension is not feasible, off-grid renewable energy-based electrification is the best option. Urpelainen (2014) defines an efficient electrification strategy as one in which efforts toward on-grid and off-grid electrification complement one another and avoid resource duplication. Bhattacharyya and Palit (2016) believe that off-grid electrification should be linked with initiatives to boost local employment and development in order to maximize energy consumption and development. Mandelli et al. (2016) conduct a global analysis of off-grid rural electrification schemes in order to determine the factors influencing technology selection. Environmental, economic, technological, political, and social factors are included in this category. Kumar, Mohanty, Palit, and Chaurey (2009) recommend the following procedures for establishing the viability of an off-grid site for renewable energy electrification: resource assessment, demand assessment, local infrastructure support, and legal challenges. They advocate for an evaluation and impact assessment following the completion of the project.

Numerous challenges with rural electrification via mini-grids have been discovered. There are several reasons for this, including a shortage of large energy consumers, a lack of corporate uses for off-grid mini-grid electricity, rural populations' unwillingness to pay higher rates than grid rates, and the prospect of grid extension into mini-grid areas.

Among the additional hurdles to mini-grid financial viability are mistakes in demand forecasting and payment collection (Peters et al., 2019). Palit and Bandyopadhyay (2016), on the other hand, discover that expanding the grid to remote and impoverished rural areas is a more expensive approach of improving electrification rates, and that off-grid options are more suited to serving lower-tier clientele.

1.3 Aims and Objectives

The main aim of this study is to design of minigrid PV solar systems for rural electrification in Nigeria.

The following are the specific objectives;

·        To design and simulate a grid connected PV system for rural electrification projects

·        To design and optimize the size of a solar PV system for rural area using the data collected and compare the results with the implemented one

·        To identify the factors responsible for the failure of solar mini-grid projects in Nigeria

1.4 Significance of the Study

The study's findings, which are applicable to future planning and implementation of solar mini-grid projects in Nigeria,
are suitable for guiding future planning and implementation of solar mini-grid projects.
Additionally, the report gives guidelines for the federal government's reform initiatives and support programs,
as well as those of development partners and donor organizations.
The study will equally add to the existing body of knowledge on the subject matter.
Students undergoing research work similar to the present study who may wish to use this work as a reference material or
a spring board for their own work will find this work really useful.

1.5 Scope of the Study

The study is configured to design of mini-grid PV solar systems for rural electrification in Nigeria,
it analyzed mini-grid projects in rural areas and assess the country's experience with solar projects.
The study studied a range of project-related topics, including planning and design, procurement, installation,
monitoring and evaluation, and maintenance.

1.6 Definition of terms

Community / Village A given population of people occupying a particular

locality over a specific period of time. They are identified by a common border, usually the majorities speak the same language and have common cultural practices.

Human Development Index A composite index measuring average achievement in

three basic dimensions of human development- along and healthy life, knowledge and a decent standard of living. The HDI is a product of UNDP and presented in annual Human Development Reports.

A photovoltaic (PV) A photovoltaic (PV) system consists of one or more solar panels, an inverter, and additional electrical and mechanical components that convert solar energy to electricity.

Modern energy Includes a variety of energy carriers including LPG, kerosene, petroleum and electricity, either grid or off-grid electricity.

Project sustainability  It refers to the project activity continuing to generate benefits to the target beneficiaries long after it’s commissioning and or funding is over.

Rural Area A rural area is relatively far deprived in terms of modern energy infrastructure. A rural locality could be a township, a market centre, an area of dispersed settlement, or even a peri-urban area.

Rural Electrification Expanding the electricity network to the rural areas.