Solar PV farm on Ile de Romainville inaugurated |14 December 2022
• Consider milestone towards achieving 15% renewables penetration by 2030
By Patsy Canaya
Seychelles’ 5-megawatt solar photovoltaic (PV) farm, commissioned in April 2021, was officially inaugurated in a short ceremony on Monday morning on Ile de Romainville.
It was Vice-President Ahmed Afif and the deputy director general of Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD), Khalifa Abdulla Al Qubaisi, who unveiled the plaque in the presence of the Minister for Agriculture, Climate Change and Environment, Flavien Joubert; ADFD representatives and officials from the Public Utilities Corporation (PUC).
In his address, Minister Joubert said the inauguration was one of Seychelles’ milestone towards achieving 15% renewables penetration by 2030 and the greater vision of hitting net-zero emissions by 2050.
Work on the solar farm project, which is in line with the government’s energy policy drafted in 2010, started in November 2018 by PUC and Masdar.
“All these renewable energy infrastructure that you see here, together with the distributed rooftop PV around the island, has enabled us to reach our 5% renewable energy target. And we are now looking at the 15% target by 2030 and beyond. As the energy demand continues to rise, we will continue to adopt alternative sources of energy. We have the natural resources require for this transition,” said the minister.
The solar farm comprises 14,850 PV panels installed over an area of about 50,000 square metres, three substations on Ile de Romainville, an undersea cable linking the man-made island to Roche Caiman, as well as a sub-station and a Battery Energy Storage System in Roche Caiman, on Mahé.
According to PUC, it has the capacity to produce 7 million units of electricity annually, which can meet the electricity needs of approximately 2,000 homes.
Minister Joubert said since its commissioning in April 2021, the solar farm has brought several benefits.
“This annual generation of energy, which represents around 1.6 million litres of fuel consumption per year, will reduce approximately around 5,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year. Although small, it makes a difference to PUC and to Seychelles in terms of cost savings and environmental protection. Furthermore, the experience gained and lessons learnt in operating this plant will make future solar farms easier to manage,” added the minister.
The solar farm has been funded at a cost of USD 10.2m through a concessional loan from IRENA-ADFD amounting to approximately USD 8.5m, representing 78 percent, with the balance of funds (USD 1.7m) coming from PUC’s own equity, which is 22 percent.
The fund’s deputy director general, Khalifa Abdulla Al Qubaisi, described the event as another milestone in the strong and successful relationship between ADFD and Seychelles, and which will bring a lot of benefits for the country.
He said investment in renewable energy are meaningful in every sense of the word, as they energise local economies and “alter energy mix, help ensure a more steady supply of power and perhaps more importantly they hold to the promise of future growth for the community and the country”.
The solar PV farm project complements the 6MWp Port Victoria Wind Farm, which was a donation from the UAE government and was inaugurated in 2013.
The accompanying photos show some highlights of the inauguration ceremony.