Electronic load controllers (ELCs) can be a vital component of micro hydropower systems. Without ELCs or other load management solutions, the electricity generated could veer outside of standard specifications, which may cause damage to appliances and system components, or become fire and electrical hazards in worst case scenarios. However, it is often the least understood component of micro hydro systems by local practitioners, and hence can lead to long periods of downtime and high costs, when in need of troubleshooting, repair, or replacement.
The workshop aims to facilitate knowledge transfer of an Open Source ELC design to the participants. This design has been produced through collaborative project work supported by Engineers Without Borders-UK, their local partners Sibat (Philippines) and Tonibung (Malaysia). Work was continued by Green Empowerment and WISIONS, bringing about this event where the technology can be disseminated, reviewed and improved by other practitioners in HPNET.
The training will last two weeks, covering topics such as digital electronics, system topologies, troubleshooting and build sessions to improve practical electronics skills. The exchange activities will be done in Tonibung’s Center for Renewable Energy and Appropriate Technology. At the end of the training, participants are expected to have built their own digital ELC main circuit boards, have a good understanding of its operation, and have the skills required for installation, maintenance and repair of the system. They will be able to bring the knowledge gained back to their home organizations along with notes and resources, enabling them to share it with partners, and apply it to their projects for the advancement of sustainable development in their respective countries.
The exchange will explore how to further advance the Open Source ELC to include features for interconnection to the main grid and project-to-project interconnection, as well as improved load management. The exchange builds onto the local momentum generated by participants of HPNET's 2016 regional training, "Capacity Building for Electronic Load Controller Technicians in S/SE Asia", supported by the WISIONS SEPS.