The government of Seychelles has confirmed that the construction of a floating solar PV power plant will be delayed due to consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Seychelles announced its plan to install a utility-scale floating solar PV system, the first in Africa, in April 2018. Construction of the system which will be located on the lagoon at Le Rocher, in the central Mahe district of Les Mamelles, was due to start this year.
Speaking to Seychelles News Agency, the chief executive of the Seychelles Energy Commission, Tony Imaduwa, said due to the COVID-19 situation issuance of the notice of intended award was delayed as the selected bidder will not be able to meet all the conditions set.
Imaduwa said that some of the conditions required the bidder to be in the country to finalise the technical design of the plant. However, this has not taken place because of the travel restrictions to Seychelles.
He said now that the notice of intended award has been issued, the successful bidder Quadran will have around five months to meet the conditions set before construction can start.
“It is a crucial stage of the process. Maybe there will be some cost implications but the project is based on an Independent Power Producer (IPP) model where the IPP will have to finance, design, construct and operate the plant and sell electricity at a fixed rate over a period of time,” Imaduwa explained.
The project is Seychelles’ first independent power producer, meaning the private sector will be responsible for designing, financing, building, and operating the power plant, as well as selling electricity to the national grid at a predetermined price for 25 years.
Utility-scale floating solar plant
Quadran was selected from a competitive process based on the lowest rate to sell electricity generated from the PV plant to the local Public Utilities Corporation which is $9.5 cents.
The power purchase agreement is scheduled to be signed in the next few months and the construction starting soon after.
Once installed and running, the utility-scale floating solar PV system is expected to contribute around 5.8GWh annually. This will contribute to a reduction in fossil fuel importation which translates to savings in foreign exchange for the country.
The energy from the new project is also expected to equate to 1.6% of the Seychelles’ energy target set for 2030.
Imaduwa said the system “is an innovative way of addressing our land constraint and demonstrates the country’s commitment to combat climate change.”