First Kiwi-built ‘solar station’ delivered to Vanuatu
SolarCity NZ’s first containerised ‘solar station’ is the first of a series designed to power fresh water production for 11,000 people in Vanuatu.
Developed by Kiwi company SolarCity NZ for Hitachi, the 50kWp (kilowatt peak) solar power system has been built within a modified shipping container and will power the first of two desalination plants for the islands.
The shipping container has been designed to work independently of the grid and provide isolated and developing communities with power.
Two solar-powered seawater desalination plants will be installed on Ambae Island and Aniwa Island. The 50kWp solar PV system will also include 600kWh of battery storage, and 36kW of continuous battery inverter output.
This planned desalination plant will be the first of this size in Vanuatu. The Ambae plant will produce approximately 4,200 litres of fresh water an hour, and the Aniwa plant will produce approximately 420 litres of fresh water an hour.
In 2013, SolarCity successfully installed a 131kWp system in Nauru for desalination. Like the Nauru project, the Vanuatu system is funded as part of the Pacific Environment Community (PEC) Fund.
The firm’s CEO Andrew Booth says: “One of our company’s goals is to work on state-of-the-art solar projects that reduce Pacific Island nation’s dependency on fossil fuels for power generation and desalination.
“Reliable access to energy lies at the heart of economic development and is crucial to human well-being.
“As climate change starts to impact on the availability of fresh water on the islands, the successful integration of solar and desalination plants will become critical to communities across the Pacific.”