On Wednesday, global power and automation firm ABB commissioned a 750kW integrated solar photovoltaic (PV)-diesel microgrid at its Longmeadow facility in Johannesburg.
Claudio Facchin, President of ABB power grid division and Silas Zimu, Special advisor to the President officially inaugurate the microgrid
Claudio Facchin, President, Power Grid division, ABB and Silas Zimu, Special advisor to the President officially inaugurate the microgrid

Comprising of a 1MVA/380 kWh ABB PowerStore battery-based grid stabilising system to address frequency and voltage fluctuations, the power company describes this installation as a “world premiere” for its fully grid-connected and off-grid functionalities to optimise renewable power generation.

Innovation is in high demand

Speaking at the inauguration, Silas Zimu, presidential advisor, said that the Southern African region needs innovation to drive the energy sector forward.

President of ABB’s Power Grids division, Claudio Facchin, said: “This innovative microgrid solution helps address a real-world challenge by providing stable and cost-effective continuity of power supply while minimising environmental impact.”

Facchin added: “Penetration of growth markets like Africa and leveraging innovative technologies like microgrids to improve power reliability are key elements of ABB’s Next Level strategy.”

The Longmeadow microgrid system is fitted with a Microgrid Plus distributed control system (DCS) to effectively manage the power supply. In addition, the DCS application manages the balance of fossil fuel and renewable energy sources in accordance with the load, enabling access to utility grade power.

ABB’s deployable smart technology 

With only 26% of SSA connected to the grid network, this unique system is designed to be easily deployable to rural areas that have poor infrastructure, increasing the rate of access.

These microgrid systems are pre-designed modular containers, that can take a day to kick into operation from day of placement.

The company explained that a cloud-based remote service system will be deployed for the operations and maintenance of the microgrid, keeping with ABB’s Internet of Things, Services and People (IoTSP) approach.

With the Southern African region faced with power shortages, fossil fuel price volatility environmental concerns and an increase in demand, microgrids are a viable solution to address some of these short to medium term challenges.

Homepage pic credit: ABB South Africa