He thanked overseas companies METTLE Solar Investments and Sustainable Power Solutions (SPS) for providing the finance, equipment and expertise towards the project, as well as local engineering personnel and the island’s construction team and other staff for all the planning and getting all the thousand and one elements of the logistics in place to make it a reality.
With the island’s tourism establishment consuming almost half of the energy produced by the facility, Mr Solomon said it portrays a reduction of around 90 percent of the previous consumption of around 55,000 litres of diesel per month.
This, he said, is a massive change since the establishment is very focused on sustainability and to run on renewable energy is something very exciting that they are proud of.
The new facility was built by Sustainable Power Solutions (SPS) – a South African-based distributed renewable energy company that provides solar energy solutions to business customers across sub-Saharan Africa –, and the Mettle Solar Investments which is a leading pan-African commercial and industrial solar platform company that provides a variety of affordable renewable energy solutions to commercial and industrial customers.
According to Mr Savy, the only financial input of the IDC was through the concrete pillars supporting the PV panels.
He explained that the IDC is simply buying electricity at a cost of USD$0.19 per kilowatt, as compared to USD$0.42 with the use of generators.
Mr Savy also revealed that the next stage of IDC’s energy master plan is a 2.5-megawatt solar farm on Platte Island to provide energy for a 42-room resort which is currently under construction.
He however explained that due to the limited space on land on Platte Island, the panels will be placed in the sea.
Mr Savy also revealed that the IDC has plans to set up smaller systems, precisely on the islands of Marie-Louise, Desnoeufs, Remire and Poivre.
As for Coëtivy Island, which has been targeted for economic activities, he said 50-kilowatt modular system will be put in place, with the option of supplementary panels, depending on demand, according to the rate of the activities.
Desroches is the largest island in the Amirantes (394 hectares) and the closest to the granitic islands, lying 230 kilometres southwest of Victoria.
It is a sand cay on the western edge of a submerged atoll about 20 kilometres in diameter. The island is just over 5 kilometres long but only 330 metres wide at its narrowest point.
A channel northwest of the island is about 1.6 kilometres wide and 18 metres deep, allowing even cruise ships to enter the calm waters of the lagoon, within which there is little variation in the depth at around 25 metres.
It was named in the late 18th century in honour of François Julien Desroches, administrator of Ile de France (now Mauritius).
On English charts it was called Wood Island, because of the extensive native forest.