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Mahe Seychelles | Photo: Wikipedia/Dronepicr

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Floating solar panel | Photo: Multiconsult

Marine floating solar farm in the Seychelles reaches important milestone

A new 4 MW floating solar PV farm on seawater is expected to provide affordable and clean power to the national grid in the Republic of Seychelles. Quadran Seychelles was recently awarded the rights to develop, construct and operate the plant by the Seychelles Energy Commission, with Multiconsult as one of the advisors.

13. January, 2020

Once the Power Purchase and Government Support Agreements are signed, construction will start on the approximately 4MW power plant, located on the Providence lagoon in Mahé, the main island of the Seychelles. The energy from the new project is expected to equate to 1.6 percent of the Seychelles’ energy target set for 2030.

“This project is novel, innovative and technically very challenging. The fact that the price is still cheaper than the alternative cost of energy from diesel gives me huge confidence in the potential of floating solar as an important niche within the solar industry” – says Simon Gazdowicz of Multiconsult, who worked on the technical specifications of the plant.

The project is supported by the African Legal Support Facility (ALSF) and the Clinton Foundation, with Trinity International LLP and Multiconsult Norge AS serving as the transaction and tender advisers.

Affordable electricity

Bidders submitted technical and financial proposals highlighting their preferred design and the tariff at which they would supply electricity to the Public Utilities Corporation (PUC) through a 25-year power purchase agreement.

Quadran was the best-evaluated bidder for the project at $9.5 cents per kilowatt-hour, representing a significant financial saving compared to the current cost of producing electricity from fossil fuels in the Seychelles, an impressive feat given the novelty of the project.

Important innovation

Floating solar PV has been deployed at scale in markets including Asia and Europe, but these installations have been in freshwater sites such as lakes and reservoirs. No floating solar PV has yet to be implemented in a seawater environment at utility-scale.

Seychelles’ innovative project represents an important step forward for the technology, as the power plant will be in a saltwater environment and must be designed to cope with challenges such as salinity, tidal fluctuations, and water currents.

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