New solar power solution for rural Liberia
Bandera Electric Cooperative was selected by NRECA (National Rural Electric Cooperative Association) International to design and procure a solar and energy storage solution for Totota, Liberia, located 160 km east of the capital, Monrovia.
With a population of approximately 6,400, Totota is a rural community and is home to stores, workshops, restaurants, schools, clinics, churches, mosques and government offices.
Despite the town's status as a regional trading centre, most households rely on dry cell batteries, lanterns and candles for illumination while a small number purchase electric service from individuals who own and operate small generators.
BEC Solar, a subsidiary of Bandera Electric Cooperative, designed and procured a stand-alone 70 kW energy solution that will provide power to about 400 houses and businesses in Totota.
The power system and utility will be owned by a local electric cooperative. This energy solution includes 220 solar panels, a lithium-ion battery storage solution capable of providing 90 kWh of energy, along with a back-up diesel generator.
"Totota lacks the infrastructure and resources needed to sustain a reliable and effective power generation system," said Miguel Rivera, Renewable Energy Program Manager for BEC Solar.
"This energy solution was designed to meet the challenges of providing reliable electricity to a remote area."
The NRECA International team is currently implementing several Beyond The Grid (BTG) projects in rural Liberia for the US. Agency for International Development (USAID).
BTG is part of the US Government's Power Africa initiative, with the goal to spur stability and economic development by delivering reliable, predominantly renewable electricity to Liberia's rural towns.
"The team at Bandera Electric Cooperative understands the challenges we face in providing reliable electricity access to remote areas in Liberia," said Dan Waddle, NRECA International Senior Vice President.
"Having an American electric cooperative help us provide a reliable and affordable energy solution to another cooperative in Liberia demonstrates not just the ability to help, but the willingness to cross borders to help communities."
NRECA International, an affiliate of NRECA, has been working as a USAID partner since 1962.
The American electric cooperative community supports NRECA International's work through monetary contributions, material donations, and on-the-ground expertise, including sending hundreds of linemen, engineers and managers to volunteer on NRECA-sponsored projects.
GfK and VMware: Innovating together on hybrid cloud
GfK has been the global leader in data and analytics for more than 85 years, supplying its clients with optimised decision inputs.
In its capacity as a strategic and technical partner, VMware has been walking GfK along its digital transformation path for over a decade.
“We are a demanding and singularly dynamic customer, which is why a close partnership with VMware is integral to the success of everyone involved,” said Joerg Hesselink, Global Head of Infrastructure, GfK IT Services.
Four years ago, the Nuremberg-based researcher expanded its on-premises infrastructure by introducing VMware vRealize Automation. In doing so, it laid a solid foundation, resulting in a self-service hybrid-cloud environment.
By expanding on the basis of VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management, GfK has given itself a secure infrastructure and reliable operations by efficiently operating processes, policies, people and tools in both private and public cloud environments.
One important step for GfK involved migrating from multiple cloud providers to just a single one. The team chose VMware.
“VMware is the market leader for on-premises virtualisation and hybrid-cloud solutions, so it was only logical to tackle the next project for the future together,” says Hesselink.
Migration to the VMware-based environment was integrated into existing hardware simply and smoothly in April 2020. Going forward, GfK’s new hybrid cloud model will establish a harmonised core system complete with VMware Cloud on AWS, VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management and a volume rising from an initial 500 VMs to a total of 4,000 VMs.
“We are modernising, protecting and scaling our applications with the world’s leading hybrid cloud solution: VMware Cloud on AWS, following VMware on Google Cloud Platform,” adds Hesselink.
The hybrid cloud-based infrastructure also empowers GfK to respond to new and future projects with astonishing agility: Resources can now be shifted quickly and easily from the private to the public cloud – without modifying the nature of interaction with the environment.
The gfknewron project is a good example – the company’s latest AI-powered product is based exclusively on public cloud technology. The consistency guaranteed by VMware Cloud on AWS eases the burden on both regular staff and the IT team. Better still, since the teams are already familiar with the VMware environment, the learning curve for upskilling is short.
One very important factor for the GfK was that VMware Cloud on AWS constituted an investment in future-proof technology that will stay relevant.
“The new cloud-based infrastructure comprising VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation forges a successful link between on-premises and cloud-based solutions,” says Hesselink. “That in turn enables GfK to efficiently develop its own modern applications and solutions.
“In market research, everything is data-driven. So, we need the best technological basis to efficiently process large volumes of data and consistently distill them into logical insights that genuinely benefit the client.
“We transform data and information into actionable knowledge that serves as a sustainable driver of business growth. VMware Cloud on AWS is an investment in a platform that helps us be well prepared for whatever the future may hold.”