The Desroches Island in Seychelles recently inaugurated a 2.5MW solar farm which will see 90% of the island resort running on solar energy.
The solar farm on Desroches was inaugurated by President Wavel Ramkalwan and chairperson of the Islands Development Company board of directors, Patrick Berlouis. The farm is the second-largest solar plant in Seychelles after the one on Ile de Romainville, a man-made island.
With tourism being the number one economic driver of the island, followed by agriculture, Desroches is home to a branch of the Four Seasons resorts chain which consumes almost half of the electricity generated by the solar farm.
The resort manager, Nick Solomon, said that when the generator was running, the resort “was using around 55,000 litres of diesel per month and with the solar plant we are expecting a reduction of about 90%.”
“This is a huge change for us. As a company, Four Seasons is very focused on sustainability and to have our resort run almost exclusively off renewable energy is something very exciting for us and something that we are very proud to be a part of,” said Solomon.
The chief executive of Islands Development Company (IDC), Glenny Savy, said the 2.5-megawatt solar farm was built by a South African-based distributed renewable energy company, Sustainable Power Solutions (SPS), and equipped with software from Metal, a tech company.
“The only money that IDC spent was to build the pillar onto which the PV panels stand, and the building that houses the equipment. We just buy electricity at a cost of $0.19 per kilowatt, as compared to $0.42 when the generators were operating,” said Savy.
Covering 394 hectares, Desroches is the largest island in the Amirantes group and the closest to the granitic islands, lying 230 kilometres southwest of Victoria. The solar farm on Desroches is the fourth and biggest installation on the outer islands managed by IDC.
The chairperson of the IDC board of directors, Patrick Berlouis, said that one of the company’s strategic objectives is to explore and introduce renewable energy projects on the islands in an effort to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and reduce operating costs.