Pico Energy Ltd Case Study 2 Site Name: Thima
System type: Pump as Turbine Power output: 2.2 kW
Manufacturer: Kirloskar Typical Generation: 19 MWh p.a.
Client: Thima CEA Design Conditions: H = 20.00 m
Q = 0.28 m3/s
Location: Kerugoya, Kenya Commissioned: January 2002
Penstock installation Kenya
Project description:

This scheme was installed as part of a program implemented by The Micro Hydro Centre at Nottingham Trent University to demonstrate Pico Hydro technology in Sub Saharan Africa. The project was financed by the beneficiaries with some additional help from external organisations. The small generator is driven by a pump working in reverse as a turbine. It produces a constant 2.2 kW of AC electricity which provides a reliable electricity service to more than 110 households. This project won the Ashden Award’s ‘Overseas Project for Light’ in 2004.

The scheme is owned and managed by the beneficiaries. The community elected a committee to manage the collection of funds and to mobilise labour for installation. The same committee now manages the scheme operation and repairs, and tariff collection.

There are approximately 160 houses within the vicinity of the generator, the furthest of which is 900 metres from the turbine house. The locations of the houses were mapped with a GPS unit which saved considerable time as no accurate maps of the area existed. The shortest route to connect all of the houses to the generator was then worked out to ensure that all the consumers were connected. This helped to keep the connection costs for the consumers as low as possible. Insulated cables were used for all elements of the distribution system to maximise safety. Only small diameter cables were required as each house draws a small current. In addition to electrical insulation particular care was taken with regard to load management, lighting protection and earth fault protection to maximise consumer safety.