Week 6 progress update - Fakaofo Atoll (Tokelau)
By Dean Parchomchuk
This last week was a milestone week on the TREP work site. Several major works reached completion. We now have all the batteries installed, filled with acid, and string interconnections complete. The sparkies and their crew put some hours in this weekend to complete the electrical wiring in the inverter room; a monumental task. Earlier in the week they completed all the underground cable runs and all trenches have been backfilled, including the 150m mains cable run with 300mm2 aluminium cables to the generator building. And out on the solar array, the last solar module was installed on Friday afternoon! The entire team feels a great sense of achievement.
The milestones reached this week can be attributed to the hard work of the local labour and the leadership they have had from Foua Toloa. Foua is the Faipule (minister) of Fakaofo. He is obviously very passionate about TREP. We have been fortunate to have Foua on site for the past couple of weeks. Foua is a giant of a man who used to play rugby for Samoa so he effectively leads the manual labour by example.
Although these major works are complete, there is still a lot of work ahead on the fine details. We will have a team of workers tightening and checking all 14,000 bolts on the solar array. We will also begin the electrical wiring of the 1,584 solar modules. The sparkies will be connecting the mains cables to the existing switchboard in the generator building, which ultimately connects to the Fakaofo grid. And we will be working on the communications system between all the SMA components. Alex Kaemmerer of SMA Technologies arrives tomorrow and will be here for 2 weeks for the purpose of assisting to commission the system and training. There is still much to be done if we are to flip the switch within 2 weeks as planned, but we are confident in our ability to reach this goal.