Sat, 24th June 2017 | Updated Tuesday 20 June 2017, 04:53:43    

PUC shows off photovoltaic demo-system

Nation 25. 11. 13 - Photovoltaic installations are forecast to rise at its fastest pace here in the near future and the Public Utilities Corporation (PUC) showed off its demo-system at its Electricity House, Roche Caïman, last Friday.
Tropical Seychelles has great potential in replacing some of the current oil-generated electricity with solar energy systems. Right now, the country is almost 100% reliant on imported oil for its energy needs, which is of significant economic and budgetary cost and the single largest contributor of greenhouse gases in the country.

As a result of continued expansion of the electricity distributing system, the rising standard of living and increased foreign investment projects, Seychelles will need more fuel.
To reduce the country’s dependence on fossil fuel to produce electricity, the use of grid-connected rooftop photovoltaic systems as a sustainable means of generating electricity could be a good choice.

The demo-system project at the PUC is being implemented by the government of Seychelles together with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) programme coordination unit in collaboration with the PUC and the Seychelles Energy Commission.

The PV demo-system installed at the PUC

Speaking to the local media last Friday, November 22, Dominic Rassool, the GOS-UNDP-GEF PV project manager, said the objective of the photovoltaic project is to increase the use of photovoltaic systems as  a sustainable means of generating electricity in Seychelles so as to reduce the country’s dependency on fossil fuel for energy production.

“The demo-system located at the PUC headquarters is to allow the PUC to gain some empirical data to better distinguish between the monocrystalline and polycrystalline photovoltaic cells, the economic and technical differences between them,” said Mr Rassool.

“Apart from the demonstration purpose, we are using this demo-system to gain actual data over a period of time so as to better ascertain which system performs better economically and technically in Seychelles. Of course we expect the monocrystralline panels to perform better, but from an economical standpoint it might be important for customers to see how well the polycrystalline panels perform. We will be in close liaison with the PUC to collate all these data so that we can better model for the financial mechanism that will pertain to the overall project,” Mr Rassool added.

He explained that the grid-connected rooftop photovoltaic system serves to benefit the country as a whole as people who do not use the electricity they generate can still push that onto the grid for other consumers to benefit.

Tony Pace of Pace Global, which is responsible for the procurement and installation of the system, said the demo-system will show how monocrystralline and polycrystalline panels perform in the very unique Seychelles environment.

The company has installed at the PUC headquarters seven monocrystralline PV and 10 polycrystalline panels which will give the same production.

“As we use 30% less of the monocrystalline panels we expect to produce 10% more in efficiency and production. But these are figures we need to verify. A state-of-the-art weather station has also been installed and we are measuring radiation of the panels compared to the outside temperature. We are also measuring wind speed and wind direction and how they affect the panels. This information is important for all involved in the project as it is a very big decision for anybody to invest in photovoltaic panels,” said Mr Pace, whose Providence-based company is already working on installing photovoltaic panels at the Central Bank of Seychelles, L’Archipel hotel and Les Lauriers Hotel & Restaurant on Praslin.

Mr Pace added that Global Pace has also donated and is installing photovoltaic panels at the International School Praslin.
PUC’s electrical engineer Sumit Gogia said that Seychelles can benefit from the photovoltaic system as there is a lot of solar radiation in Seychelles which the PUC can turn into electricity for the benefit of its consumers.

Mr Rassool noted that as photovoltaic begins to scale up in Seychelles, most people don’t realise that it produces intermittent renewable energy and with intermittency comes some challenges.

It is therefore important for the PUC to maintain quality and distribution of electricity. Quality means within a fixed window of frequency, and with intermittent power this frequency becomes vulnerable to immediate change.

With the weather station, the PUC will have the benefit of hindsight to forecast to some extent how weather affects the system.

It is because of the intermittent renewable energy supply that Seychelles like the rest of the world will continue to use fossil fuel to produce electricity.
Guests also viewed the inverter which converts the DC electricity to AC electricity.

The main difference between the monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar cells is simply that one is produced from a single crystal of silicon and the other is produced from a piece of silicon consisting of many crystals.

As polycrystalline cells contain many crystals, they have a less perfect surface than monocrystalline cells, meaning they absorb slightly less solar energy and produce slightly less electricity per square metre. On the plus side, the process of creating the silicon for a polycrystalline cell is much simpler, so these cells are generally cheaper per square metre.

Monocrystalline cells will usually have a perfectly uniform appearance, but polycrystalline cells will appear ‘grainy

Mr Pace and Mr Rassool (from right to left respectively) looks on as the conversion of DC electricity into AC electricity is explained

Source: Nation@ http://www.nation.sc/article.html?id=239890

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