Renewable energy for remote Solomon Islands community

renewable energy

An innovative pilot project aimed at replacing diesel power with quiet and constant renewable energy systems has been established at The Bishop Koete Rural Training Centre on Nggela Sule Island in the Solomon Islands.

For Rural Training Centres in the Solomons, the money saved by not having to buy costly diesel is a huge benefit.

“Most of the schools in Solomon Islands use around 50% of their total yearly budget on diesel to meet their energy requirements,” says Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand  programmes coordinator, Marion Ferguson.

“Saving most of this each year will provide a huge increase in resources that can be used for other critical needs…”

The project has been undertaken by a Dunedin companies Powerhouse Wind and Control Focus,  Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand and the Solomon Islands Association of Rural Training Centres (SIARTC).

Assistance  was also received from the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT).

To create the necessary power to replace diesel generators, the hybrid system harvests renewable energy from both wind and sun

A lithium ion battery provides a back-up of stored energy for when there is no sun or wind, and the existing diesel generator is also coupled into the system for backup.

Managing the system and doing the necessary power conversions is a Synergi hybrid power solution from Enatel in Christchurch.

All the unit’s functions  are provided by ‘hot swappable’ modules.

This means that a failure in any module causes a reduced system output, not a total outage

Full capacity can be restored by plugging in a replacement without stopping the system.

“This means the power conversion equipment can be maintained by people trained to respond to alarms and diagnose, but who don’t need advanced electrical skills to repair or replace components,” says Bill Currie, Co-Director of Powerhouse Wind Ltd.



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News category: Asia Pacific.

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