St Helena goes solar

Cape Town - The island of St Helena in the Atlantic Ocean will now be able to supply more than a third of its energy needs from renewable sources.

German firm SolarWorld has provided the modules for the two largest solar power plants on the island. St Helena became famous as the place of exile of Napoleon Bonaparte. Following the installation of SolarWorld photovoltaic modules, the island now has the highest proportion of wind and solar energy feeding into the grid out of all regions in the UK, to which the island currently belongs.

Due to increased energy costs and a high dependency on imports, the local utility company Connect Saint Helena (CSH) started to convert electricity generation from diesel to renewable energy resources. Through the use of solar power around 300 000 liters of diesel can be saved each year. Like many small islands, St Helena has mainly relied on diesel generators for power generation in the past.

The long term solar initiative was launched three years ago. In 2012, one of SolarWorld’s partners, Sustainable Power Solutions (SPS), an engineering, procurement and construction company, was appointed by CSH to design and install the first solar power plant as part of a pilot project on the island.

In 2013 and 2014, further projects followed, including a rooftop system, which supplies the local power station. This year, Sustainable Power Solutions was appointed by CSH once again to design and build a large ground-mounted system using SolarWorld modules, adding another 500 kWp of renewable energy to the grid.

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