Afar region – Semara

Electrification of a local shop in Sudan Camp – Semara, Ethiopia

During October 2015, the Rural Electrification Research Group of NTUA along with V3 power (UK), Nea Guinea (Greece) and and I-Love-Windpower Tanzania joined Wind Empowerment and Mercy Corps Ethiopia, in order to implement a rural electrification project in Semara, in Ethiopia’s Afar region. The project’s main goal was to provide productive uses of energy from off-grid renewable energy systems using locally manufactured small wind turbines and solar panels, as part of Mercy Corps’ program PRIME (Pastoralists’ Areas Resilience Improvement through Market Expansion).

sudan camp

The rural settlement of Sudan Camp

In this context, the local shop of a rural settlement in Sudan Camp, 50km away from Semara, was electrified using a 3.6m rotor diameter locally manufactured small wind turbine, installed at 12m hub height, and 600W of solar panels in order to provide electricity for mobile phone charging, lighting and refrigeration of beverages in the shop. In addition refrigeration of local agricultural produce will be provided to assist local farmers with better preservation possibilities. The off-grid electrical system consists of a 1kW inverter, a 24V 750Ah battery bank and two diversion load charge controllers. A data logger will be installed along with the system in order to measure the wind speed, using an anemometer on the wind turbine tower, and the current provided to the shop’s loads. The shop’s load profile will be logged and in later on the power curve of the wind turbine.


The electrical system board


The batteries in the battery box and the diversion load resistors mounted on a plywood board







The wind turbine and the solar panels

                                                                                The small wind turbine used in the installation was manufactured locally at the Semara University during a 9 day course with 24 participants. Students and staff of the university participated in the course which included theoretical lectures on small wind turbine technology and applications and practical workshops on small wind turbine construction. The practical sessions were organised in three working groups. The woodworking group was carving the three blades of the rotor out of wood, the metalworking group was fabricating the steel frame of the generator and the furling tail, and the generator manufacturing group which winded the coils of the stator and fabricated the magnet rotor disks.


Winding coils at the electrical base


Mounting the tail brackets at the metalwork base


Carving blades at the woodwork base

                                                 The wind turbine was then installed with the course participants in the rural community of Sudan Camp, along with the solar panels and the electrical system. To see more photos of the project click here.


The wind turbine painted and mounted on the tower

Educational installation in the University of Semara – Semara, Ethiopia

A 1.8m diameter small wind turbine was also constructed during the ten day course with the students and was installed in the university campus along with an electrical system for mobile phone charging. The system consists of a 300W inverter and a 24V 150Ah battery bank and will be used for education purposes in the university.


1.8m turbine successfully installed on campus for mobile phone charging