EXO Industry a partner of the world’s first smart DC microgrid with lithium storage
On the 1st of April, a landmark project agreement was signed for providing clean energy to 1200 people in 240 off-grid households in Cambodia. EXO Industry and GPBM Nordic, with the support of Okra’s DC microgrid technology, will deploy the world’s first smart distributed DC microgrid using lithium storage.
28 May, 2021 by
EXO Industry a partner of the world’s first smart DC microgrid with lithium storage
GPBM France, Jérôme Noris

Distributed microgrids are rapidly gaining recognition as the lowest cost solution to provide energy to remote rural communities living off-grid. Technology advances have enabled energy companies to deploy DC distributed microgrids at a fraction of the cost versus traditional AC microgrids.

Lithium storage has experienced a growing uptake in the solar sector with the lifetime cost point now at par or less compared with traditional lead-acid storage. Coupled with large savings on operations and the continuing decline in global lithium prices, this technology now has the potential to unlock communities who were previously unviable to be served by energy utilities.

The outcome of the project will be a fully validated business case for lithium storage in this business context. More importantly, 1200 people in 240 off-grid households are getting access to 24/7 energy. This will enable children to study when it is dark outside, women to walk safely at night and households to run small businesses using productive appliances like freezers, rice mills and egg incubators. The project is expected to be completed by 2023. 

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Thanks to this project, electrical appliances can be used by local businesses and homes. Photo from Okra Solar PTY LTD.

This project brings together pioneers in the energy distribution technology (Okra) with experts in storage design (GPBM Nordic and EXO Industry) to deliver energy to the hardest to reach communities at less than on third of the cost versus traditional microgrid solutions.

The project is co-owned and implemented by four actors,
- GPBM Nordic, Sweden – Project implementation partner
- EXO Industry, France – Technical and commercial partner
- Okra Solar PTY LTD, Australia – Local energy distribution partner
- Entrepreneurs DU Monde, France, and their subsidiary Pteah Baitong, Cambodia – Local implementation partner

The project is co-financed by the Nordic Development Fund (NDF) through their Nordic Climate Facility (NCF) challenge fund to finance early-stage climate change projects in developing countries.

EXO Industry’s role as an expert in battery technologies where to ensure aspects such as,
- Confirming the battery requirements for the project
- Designing the best battery storage offering
- Customizing the solution as necessary
- Certifications of the final battery solutions
- Production of the final battery solution as per project scope
- Supplying the offering to the project location
- Installation and maintenance support
- Designing the battery recycling and replacement schemes, and its implementation
- Design of monitoring and evaluation framework

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This project is set to contribute towards the following Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs) as outlined and adopted by the United Nations.

The impacts of the project will help people in remote households get access to clean, reliable power. Ten new jobs will be created with the implementation of the project and an estimated 981 tonnes of CO2 emissions to be saved during the projects 20-year life expectancy. Following the success of this project it can help further 26000 households with no access to grid power, giving it a high potential for future projects – just in Cambodia.

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Access to clean, reliable energy enables the households to maintain daily tasks in the light instead of the dark. Photo from Okra Solar PTY LTD.
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