To communicate across the wide areas of National Parks and Reserves, a new digital radio network powered by Phaesun solar energy, has been deployed by Ellipse Projects, a French EPC company, for Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) on a French loan financing. The former network was obsolete, suffering
from poor coverage and limited to voice transmission. The new digital radio system is modern, highly efficient. It supports voice and data (Short Data Messages), useful for covert operations against poachers. It operates in the VHF frequency band thus allowing extended coverage over three
conservation areas. Depending on the site situation, Phaesun proposes dedicated solutions with off grid solar systems from 250Wp to 2500Wp as well as back up systems to unreliable grid. The conservation areas set to be covered by the new system are linked together by use of Microwave hops
hence eliminating the use of the HF radio. KWS expects the system to be effective in combating poaching, protecting tourists and in general tremendously improve radio communication within the Service.
Why was PV selected?
KWS infrastructure radio sites are often remote, not easily accessible, and not connected to the public grid. Solar PV system offers flexible solutions (instead of diesel generator) to power these radio equipment in remote areas. KWS also uses solar power in a significant number of outstations and
park gates for powering fixed radio terminal equipment with a few exceptions where inverter power systems are used when utility mains power is available.
The network shall ensure communication between Fixed, Mobile (vehicles and aircrafts) and Portable radios. The underlying microwave links backbone connecting the radio sites together shall also provide fixed broadband communication between different parks and KWS HQS in Nairobi. On another front, the project has been envisaged to ensure adherence to environmental aspects that relate to the conservation areas within Kenya Wildlife Service. The variability of site locations across a wide area (insolation, hills…) as well as the different load equipment require tailor made solar systems
for almost each site.