UNGIA, Columbia — In the Colombian municipality of Ungía, DHYBRID and its regional partner, Vibran, installed the largest hybrid microgrid in the country. This isolated community in the Chocó Department is not accessible by road. Until now, supply was restricted to 8 hours a day and was provided by diesel generators. Thanks to the new microgrid, over 10,000 families now have a reliable power supply around the clock.
The new grid is controlled and monitored by DHYBRID’s manufacturer-independent and technology-agnostic Universal Power Platform (UPP). This energy management system connects four generators with a 780-kWp solar system and a 333-kWh power storage unit with a maximum output of 122 kW.
In addition to eliminating 818 tons of CO2 emissions from diesel generators per year, the microgrid also reduces exhaust emissions and fine dust pollution at the local level. The total fuel savings amount to 328,000 liters, not including the energy for the cumbersome transportation of diesel fuel through the jungle by boat.
Miguel Lotero Robledo, deputy minister of energy, personally inaugurated the microgrid. The new system was funded through a government program aimed at supplying remote areas with green energy.
During the construction phase, the team faced a number of challenges, including the transportation of components to the region. On top of that, the coronavirus pandemic meant the engineers from DHYBRID were not able to travel from Germany to Colombia. These challenges were solved through close cooperation between the local experts and DHYBRID engineers in Germany: The system was installed by Vibran's on-site team and configured and commissioned from Germany.
“The project shows how a gradual expansion of renewable energy supply in Latin America can succeed,” said Tom Frickle, head of energy storage at DHYBRID. “Operators and energy suppliers remain flexible through a technology-agnostic energy management system. They can benefit from the best solution available at the moment of implementation but remain open to extend their capacities regardless of manufacturers and technology. This way, they can optimally adapt the output of grids to a growing demand in the future.”