Spotlight on St Helena’s Solar Farm
St Helena has taken a major step towards becoming energy self-sufficient thanks to the new solar farm, placing the island at the forefront of renewable energy technology.
In August 2014 Connect Saint Helena Ltd received approval to invest £1 million in a solar farm. The farm, sited at Half Tree Hollow, is now operational and supplying electricity, supplementing the small scale solar systems already situated on the roofs of the power station and Connect’s offices at Seales Corner and Carnarvon Court. The combined capacity of these systems is 586kWp (solar electricity systems are given a rating in kilowatts peak, the rate at which it generates energy at peak performance).
Wind energy is St Helena’s second source of renewable energy with 21% of the island’s electricity last year coming from the wind turbines. The solar farm is rated at 500kW so in the middle of a summer’s day this is what is supplied. At night nothing is contributed. During the morning and afternoon there is a ramp up and then ramp down of power. The solar and wind will work well together, during the winter the wind turbines produce more but when summer arrives again the wind will drop and the sun will shine so the solar contribution will increase.
Renewable energy last year saved almost 600,000 litres of diesel fuel and with the solar farm commissioned, Connect will save close on 1 million litres of diesel fuel a year.
With the solar farm coming on line, June 2015 saw a massive 33.4% of the islands electricity being generated by renewable energy, breaking all previous records (as a comparative benchmark the UK sits at about 15%). This equates to a saving of 73,000 litres of diesel fuel, which is enough to fill the fuel tanks of half the island’s registered vehicles.
Connect’s CEO, Barry Hubbard commented “This is not the end of the story. We are working closely with our SHG colleagues to further improve our green credentials. A detailed analysis of the island’s renewable resource has been undertaken and we are in possession of options which will allow us to move forward with the aim of ultimately becoming self-sufficient in the generation of electricity. We are now considering the various options available to define what the next steps will be.”
For more information visit the Connect website.