Seychelles to save $ 1 million a year from new solar power plant

Seychelles should save more than $ 1 million a year once a solar park on Romainville Island, off the main island of Mahe, is completed later this year, said a senior official.

The Public Utilities Company ( PUC ) - responsible for the implementation of the project - will install a five-megawatt solar photovoltaic system that "will produce about 7 million kilowatt-hours of energy a year," said Laurent Sam, energy engineer of the United States. society.

"That's equivalent to consuming an average of 2,000 households, using 300 kilowatts of energy each month," Sam said.

Mr. Sam added that "this will save Seychelles 1.6 million liters of fuel that will no longer be needed at the PUC plant, if we do the calculation based on today's oil price. we will save about $ 1.02 million a year. "

"The solar farm will produce about 1.8% of our annual energy demand," said Sam.

Seychelles - a group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean - rely heavily on imported fossil fuels for energy production and transportation. At present, only 2.5% of the island's electricity comes from renewable sources.

According to the company, once the plant is operational, the amount of renewable energy produced in Seychelles will double.

Work has already begun to clean up the artificial island which already houses five wind turbines. The 14,850 solar panels installed should cover half of the perimeter of the island once work is completed in five to six months.

The project will cost $ 10.2 million, a quarter of which will be funded by the utility company. The government will finance the remaining three quarters with a 2% interest loan from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the Abu Dhabi Development Fund (ADF).

The project will include the installation of a battery, which will play an important role in stabilizing the system. The battery, which has the size of four containers, will have a storage capacity of 3.3 megawatt hours with a capacity of 5 megawatts.

In a previous interview with SNA, general manager Philippe Morin said that "as the contribution of renewables increases in the grid, the electricity system is still likely to become unstable."

Mr. Morin gave a scenario to explain the need for a battery in the system.

"Suppose we get a total of 10 megawatts of solar photovoltaic power working perfectly with the PUC system , then suddenly the clouds cover the sky and the production level drops to 2 megawatts. In this case, you lost 8 megawatts to be replaced in the system, "said Morin.

The general manager said that if the decline in production was not to be replaced, the grid would become unstable and could lead to a power outage.

"To avoid this, you resort to storage. In the short term, the best technical and economical solution is to use batteries, "said Morin.

The battery will not only be used in this project, it will also serve to stabilize other renewable energy projects that will occur in the future.

Seychelles also plans to install the first industrial-scale floating photovoltaic (PV) system on the Le Rocher lagoon in the district of Les Mamelles.

Photovoltaic panels will also be installed on Curieuse Island, a national park near Praslin, the second most populated island, and 41 schools in Seychelles. This will be through an agreement under which the Chinese government will help Seychelles with a grant of about $ 4.3 million.

Source: Seychelles News Agency