Energy Access

Powering Progress in Gabon

Nestled in the grassy plains of Gabon’s savanna region, Lékédi National Park is home to several fisheries as well as monkeys, buffalo, antelopes and other wildlife indigenous to Central Africa. Park management wanted to build a base camp to accommodate staff and visitors, including an administrative building, a research laboratory and three onsite houses. A cost-effective, reliable, scalable solution for power and water supply was required for this remote, off-the-grid location.

“The power and water supply system had to be environmentally friendly and sustainable to seamlessly integrate into the conservation park,” said Eric Willaume, Lékédi Park manager. “Silent, clean and reliable power and water supplies were critical.” The park worked with local Cat® dealer Tractafric Equipment to design and install two separate power solutions.

The first, a solar power plant, consists of 420 Cat PVT110 solar panels that perform better than other technologies in high-temperature, high-humidity climates. A Cat 3.3 generator set with nominal power of 33 kVA offers high power density, high efficiencies at partial load conditions and an excellent capability to follow loads.

A second, separate system of solar panels was installed to power the raw water supply system. Six Cat PVT110 solar panels power a pump placed in a pond, which pushes water uphill to the water treatment plant located near the larger PV system. The purification system provides drinkable water to the entire camp. A single phase AC backup generator set will supplement power to the pump on bad irradiance days.

With this power solution, Lékédi Park has become a valued private attraction in Gabon. The solar generation offsets 18,000 liters of diesel and saves 2,100 hours in commute time for staff living onsite. Ultimately, it raises the standards of living for permanent park management residents and enables the protection and research of great apes, leopards, elephants, buffalo, mandrills, mangabeys and other species. Because of the installation’s success, The National Center for Scientific Research has elected to conduct a four-year study at Lékédi Park—work that will be powered by Caterpillar’s hybrid solution.