US electric co-op improves access to electricity in rural Liberia


NRECA International assigned BEC Solar, a subsidiary of BEC focusing on the development of clean energy powered microgrids , to develop a solar energy system in the small town of Totota in Liberia.Bandera Electric Cooperative (BEC) is a US-based integrated utility and telecommunications company providing energy distribution services to some 34,000

Bandera Electric Cooperative (BEC) is a US-based integrated utility and telecommunications company providing energy distribution services to some 34,000 meteringpoints and telecommunication and smart home services in Texas. NRECA International help governments improve access to electricity for the rural population through the formation and funding of cooperatives.

The 70KW energy system comprises 220 solar panels, lithium battery energy storage and backup diesel generator to power some 400 houses.

The energy system will be owned by a local electric cooperative.

Commenting on the development, Miguel Rivera, renewable energy programme manager at BEC Solar, said: “Totota lacks the infrastructure and resources needed to sustain a reliable and effective power generation system.

“This energy solution was designed to meet the challenges of providing reliable electricity to a remote area.”

The energy falls under a number of renewable energy programmes being implemented by NRECA International in Liberia under the Beyond The Grid (BTG) initiative funded by the US Agency for International Development.

The BTG initiative is part of the US government’s Power Africa initiative in which the US is striving to boosts economic stability in rural communities through access to reliable and affordable energy.


Meanwhile, in the US, utility Ameren Corporation and smart grid solutions firm S&C Electric successfully conducted a 24-hour islanding test of a microgrid.

The test was done on microgrid owned by Ameren Illinois in Champaign. In total, the tested microgrid has a capacity of 50KW, includes 225KW of renewable energy generation resources including solar and wind and 250KW/500Wh of battery energy storage system. The microgrid has been in operation since May.

The test was done on August 3 from 8 am and has shown the ability of the microgrid to provide a seamless transition from grid-connected to island mode. Read more…


Image Credit: 123rf.

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Nicholas Nhede is an experienced energy sector writer based in Clarion Event's Cape Town office. He has been writing for Smart Energy International’s print and online media platforms since 2015, on topics including metering, smart grids, renewable energy, the Internet of Things, distributed energy resources and smart cities. Originally from Zimbabwe, Nicholas holds a diploma in Journalism and Communication Studies. Nicholas has a passion for how technology can be used to accelerate the energy transition and combat climate change.