TTP plc (TTP), a leading independent technology and product development company, has today announced it has entered into a partnership with ME SOLshare Ltd (‘SOLshare’), a social enterprise that has created a new approach to distributing and trading affordable solar electricity across peer-to-peer micro-grids. By making improvements to the SOLbox trading platform, the collaboration aims to increase the supply of sustainable electrical power to communities in developing countries.
SOLshare manages smart peer-to-peer micro-grid systems in rural communities across Bangladesh, which enable the real-time trading of electricity generated through solar power—this allows users to earn a direct income selling excess electricity to their neighbours. By designing a higher-efficiency, isolated and bidirectional DC-to-DC power converter, TTP and SOLshare aim to deliver a ten-fold increase in the amount of electricity that can be shared across these grids, from the current limit of 100W, to 1kW per unit. This will mean more households can use or sell electricity and run more appliances at a higher power.
TTP will deploy its power electronics expertise in the joint development of the bi-directional power converter, and will develop, for mass-production, the electronic PCBAs which are inside the SOLbox, including the electronics which constitute the metering, wireless communications, safety, power conversion and user interface functions. TTP and SOLshare aim to have a prototype of the new system completed during the spring of 2020.
Globally, almost one billion people lack access to electricity, and another billion have intermittent supply. For areas without reliable electrical infrastructure, installing solar panels on homes can be an attractive way to generate power locally and sustainably. However, high installation costs mean this option is out of reach for many people. Additionally, an average of approximately US$1 billion of power is wasted every year due to unutilized excess power by individual systems. The peer-to-peer micro-grids pioneered by SOLshare are one way of overcoming these issues—solar electricity can be traded between different households, allowing users of solar power to become both consumers and producers. Selling excess power provides income to mitigate installation costs, while the option to buy power from the micro-grid can provide electricity to other households in need. Sharing electricity in this way can power entire villages, with all the social and economic benefits that brings.
SOLshare has installed over 28 micro-grids across Bangladesh, as well as in India, which are allowing businesses to run more smoothly, and more children to study after dark. SOLshare aims to have 160 micro-grids running around the world by the end of 2020. By working together to drastically improve the capabilities of these grids, TTP and SOLshare hope to facilitate the development of a sustainable infrastructure for the future.
Dr David Smith, Head of Industrial Technology at TTP plc, said: “We are really pleased to be involved in such a rewarding project, one that has the potential to transform the lives of people in some of the world’s poorest communities. This project is just one example of how technology can be leveraged as a powerful force for real social change and economic development.”
Dr Sebastian Groh, Managing Director at ME SOLshare Ltd, added: “TTP has the engineering and product development expertise to dramatically improve the capabilities of our SOLbox platform and with that, our service offering to low-income communities in hard to reach areas across the globe. This collaboration enables us to leapfrog in our technology development and improve lives.”