In October 2014 PowerSmart was awarded a 35 million dollar renewable energy project by the New Zealand Aid Programme in partnership with governments of Tuvalu and the Northern Cooks. The project was to install 12 off-grid solar power stations on 10 remote south pacific atolls – 8 systems in the Northern Cooks and 4 systems in Tuvalu. This 1.9MW system with 18MW/h of battery storage will save over 500,000 litres of diesel annually that was needed to power the old generators.
The project was logistically challenging as over 10,000 tonnes of freight needed to be transported to these remote atolls. This freight was made up of 7464 255W solar panels, 153 20kW inverters and 3744 batteries. As none of the atolls have modern port infrastructure, all freight had to be packed into 1 tonne parcels, so it could be manually loaded onto small barges that are used to transport the equipment through narrow gaps in the coral reef.
When we are doing projects like this we are always ready for the unexpected. Well Cyclone Pam delivered a massive blow, destroying access channels on a number of the atolls in the Tuvalu project. This resulted in delays but at the end of December 2015 the last Solar Power Station was commissioned on Niutao just over a year after the project was started.
So now 12 very remote pacific island communities have 24 hour power. Power generated through harnessing the sun’s energy. Power that enables: export fish to be frozen without fear of it spoiling, kids able to access better education and residents simply able to have electric lights on whenever they want.
As with all our projects the team at PowerSmart is immensely proud of completing this project to an exceptionally high standard and seeing how technology and solar power really can change the world and make it a better place.
In November 2015 PowerSmart was awarded the best solar power installation with storage for this project by SEANZ (Solar Electricity Assoc of NZ).
Label Title: 1.9MW Off-Grid Solar Project
Type: Utility Scale Off-Grid
Location: Tuvalu and Northern Cooks
Specs: 1.9MW Solar - 18MWH Batteries
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