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GPBM Industry partners with Okra Solar to implement a Lithium microgrid solution in Cambodia

Group of people sitting down outside on a green tarp with a smiling woman in the middle cutting up fruit and putting it in a electrical blender.
Thanks to this project, electrical appliances can be used by local businesses and homes. Photo from Okra Solar PTY LTD.

On the 1st of April, the project agreement was signed for creating the world’s first smart DC microgrid solution with lithium storage. The project, run by GPBM Nordic* and EXO Industry with the support of Okra Solar’s DC microgrid technology, will provide clean energy to 1200 people in 240 off-grid households in Cambodia.

Distributed microgrids are quickly 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 is received an increasing interest in the solar sector with the lifetime cost point now being equal or less when compared with tradition lead-acid storage. This together with large savings on operations and the continuous decline in global lithium prices, this technology now has the potential to provide communities who were previously unable to be served by energy utilities.

A small Cambodian community with solar panels on the roofs photographed from above.

As a result, the effect of this project will a completely validated business case for lithium storage in this business context. But what is most important is that 1200 people in 240 off-grid households are getting access to 24/7 energy. This will allow women to walk safely at night, children to study even when it is dark outside, 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.

This project brings together pioneers in the energy distribution technology (Okra Solar) with experts in storage design (GPBM Nordic and EXO Industry) to deliver energy to the hardest to reach communities at less than a third of the cost compared to 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 in France, and their subsidiary Pteah Baitong in 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 projects fighting climate change in developing countries.

Five of the UN Sustainability Development Goals, number 5, 7, 10, 11 and 13..
This project is set to contribute towards the following Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs) as outlined and adopted by the United Nations.

GPBM Nordic’s role as the project implementation partner is handling aspects such as, - Coordination with the fund and all the partners to drive the project - General administration of the project

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 avoided during the projects 20-year life expectancy. Following the success of this project it can go on and help a further 26000 households with no access to grid power, giving it a high potential for future projects – and this just in Cambodia.

A child reaching up towards a LED light bulb hanging from a wooden beam.
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.

*GPBM Industry is a division of GPBM Nordic.

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