By Alexandra Wall (Director of Operations and Impact) and Marguerite Cauchois (Administrative and Project Manager) at nLine
nLine provides measurements of power quality and reliability at the “edge of the grid”, i.e. the power outlet inside your home or business. To do this, we plug in a sensor. While the real magic lies in advanced statistical and data analytics we use to generate high quality, aggregate estimates of key performance indicators (KPIs) — such as the duration and frequency of power outages — and sharing this data through interactive dashboards, this would all be impossible without a sensor.
Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at a recent small-scale artisanal assembly of our GridWatch sensors.
GridWatch sensors detect power outages, outage duration, voltage sags, voltage spikes, and grid frequency issues. Data is sent in real-time over the cellular network (when cellular network isn’t available, the sensor stores measurements locally and transfers this information to the Cloud once connectivity is made). Notable sensor features include:
- installs quickly and easily on a standard unmodified outlet
- timestamps power outages and restorations with second granularity
- integrated GPS, battery, and local storage allows for data collection on very unstable grids
- integrates with our data analysis and visualization system for high-quality insights from collected data
Sensors that have passed testing are now ready for delivery!
To date, we have used these sensors to collect power reliability and quality measurements at the distribution network level across Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (we’ll be piloting in Uganda and Sierra Leone this year). Sensors have been installed with shops in grid-connected and off-grid markets, utility customers’ homes in an urban capital city, newly grid-connected rural villages, healthcare facilities powered by multiple energy solutions, and will soon be installed in homes in informal urban communities.
GridWatch can help inform and monitor investments across sectors and geographies. Above is a map of our current sensor deployments (June 2022).
The applications for power measurements are just as varied and unique as the geographic contexts themselves. For example, sensor data and KPIs are being used to target distributed renewable energy system investments, monitor the performance of large-scale grid infrastructure investments, advance reliable power supply at healthcare facilities, understand the state of electrification for households in informal and slum communities, and provide an effective means to monitor quality of service for distribution utilities.
We are actively seeking new partnerships to continue to test and explore applications for distribution-level power reliability data. Interested in learning more or partnering with us? Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and visit our website. We’re always happy to talk about what’s possible!