Two new solar power plants built on remote outer islands of the Seychelles were inaugurated this weekend by the country’s President, Wavel Ramkalawan. The two photovoltaic solar systems and accompanying battery storage were built and designed by Gridworks’ investee company Sustainable Power Solutions (“SPS”) in conjunction with the Seychelles’ Island Development Company.
The two solar plants are part of a larger project that will see SPS build more infrastructure that helps provide clean, reliable energy; cuts reliance on diesel and supports the country’s efforts to boost its tourism sector.
President Ramkalawan led a ministerial and diplomatic mission on Sunday to a number of islands including Astove, Farquhar and Desroches where SPS has built solar systems and battery storage. The President inaugurated a 150KW solar system on Astove which is expected to cut diesel consumption from around 65,000 litres a year to less than 5,000. The 220KW plant on Farquhar island has battery storage of 700kWh and will cut diesel use from approximately 95,000 litres a year to around 6,000.
The President’s delegation also visited the larger island of Desroches which is the site of the biggest solar plant built by SPS in Seychelles and is expected to be commissioned in June this year. The 3.2MW plant, with battery storage of 6.2MWh is expected to reduce the island’s current 1.4 million litre annual diesel usage by 85% and provide a boost to the tourism sector.
In 2019, Gridworks made an initial US$7.2 million equity investment in Mettle Solar Investments, which is a majority shareholder in SPS, and is supporting the company as it expands across Africa. SPS offers consistent and clean energy to business customers, acting as a pioneer in the use of battery storage and helping cut dependence on diesel. Gridworks’ mandate covers transmission and distribution infrastructure in Africa, as well as on and off-grid solutions. This includes distributed renewable energy providers such as SPS. Capitalised by British International Investment, the UK’s development finance institution, Gridworks aims to invest over US$300 million in Africa’s electricity networks to deliver reliable and sustainable power.
Gridworks CEO, Simon Hodson welcomed the news of the visit and said:
“Climate change poses a special threat to island countries, so I was delighted to see the President of the Seychelles inaugurate the new solar infrastructure that SPS have helped put in place. Islands such as the Seychelles have played no part in the climate change crisis that faces them, but they are showing leadership to the rest of the world in rolling out technology that can cut emissions.
“Our ongoing investment in SPS allows it to offer its renewable energy products to clients across Africa and will give a big boost to our ongoing efforts to make renewable energy more accessible and affordable. Our investment also aims to demonstrate the commercial viability of solar power for businesses in Africa, a region where 70 per cent of total energy demand currently comes from commercial and industrial customers.”