Micro-grid technology for a widespread use of renewable energy sources in Africa

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The project will take place in Benin, SenegalFranceGermany .



Lead: Université de Picardie Jules Verne (UPJV)

Overall Objectives

The LEOPARD project aims to disseminate micro-grid technology by designing, testing, and evaluating a containerized solution for renewable energy production in rural and peri-urban areas in West Africa.



   Example of a solar container unit

Context: why is this action necessary?

The decreasing prices for solar PV and the high irradiation on the African continent demonstrate the case to develop renewable energy sources (RES) and solar PV. African countries are currently raising their commitments to RES increased use of independent power producers (IPPs) and improving their legislations to stimulate renewable energy, decentralized off-grid solutions such as mini-grids and solar home systems. However, technical, financial, and regulatory barriers are still holding back the expansion of renewables in Africa: the LEOPARD project aims to overcome these barriers by providing pragmatic technical solutions and recommendations to increase electricity access and RES penetration in West Africa.

What are the concrete actions to be implemented?
  • Determine the local conditions of access to energy at the neighbourhood, village, and regional levels
  • Optimize the technical and economic benefits of the system, considering the local uses and appropriations
  • Analyse the conditions and impacts of the interconnection of the off-grid containerized solution in a larger microgrid and its connection to the national grid or even wider
  • Define the conditions of replicability and map the areas of Benin and Senegal where the solution could be appropriate
What is LEOPARD collaborative strategy?

Under the coordination of the Université de Picardie Jules Verne (UPJV), trough the laboratory „Laboratoire de Technologies Innovantes“, the project includes six partners from Benin, Senegal, Germany and France: the Songhai Center, CT2S (Centre de Test des Systèmes Solaires), ARESS (African Renewable Energy Systems & Solutions), EIFER (European Institute for Energy Research), EPAC (Ecole Polytechnique d’Abomey-Calavi) and the MEDEE cluster.

Based on field data collected by CT2S, EPAC and the Songhai Center, EIFER will model and simulate a containerized renewable energy production solution including storage. Based on the simulation results, ARESS will provide a detailed specification of the solution and will build a prototype. The Beninese company will also develop a remote payment system. The prototype will then be tested in two locations in Benin to evaluate the solution in rural and peri-urban environments. One of the selected site is the one of Songhai Center. In parallel, CT2S will develop a quality control protocol to guarantee the sustainability of the system and reduce maintenance needs. Finally, replication studies in Senegal will be conducted.


What is the expected impact of the WP?

LEOPARD will raise awareness on stand-alone solar installations in West Africa by:

  • Stimulating and enhancing collaboration between public and private partners from Europe and Africa,
  • Implementing a user-centric decentralized solar production based on a container which is modular, affordable, and replicable at a large scale,
  • Demonstrating the feasibility and operability of the proposed solution through in situ pilots which can be locally maintained by trained technicians.


Download the project flyer 

News from LEOPARD

The LEAP-RE consortium gathers 83 African and European partners covering a wide range of sectors: education/research, private sector, policy and funding. Together, they are building a long-term partnership of African and European stakeholders committed to fostering research and innovation for the development of renewable energy.

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