Partnering to Meet Fiji’s 2030 Renewable Energy Goal
It is well known the negative impacts of burning fossil fuels for energy and the resulting carbon emissions is a significant contributor to worldwide climate change. What many do not know is that Fiji was the first country in the world to sign the Paris Climate Agreement to combat climate change. In fact, the government of Fiji has a very aggressive renewable energy goal of 99% by 2030.
Meeting this goal will require bold vision and collaboration among committed partners nationally and in the region. As our business name implies, Vision Energy Solutions plans to lead these visionary energy solution collaborations in the region.
In fact, we operate on the principle that everyone deserves to have access to the latest technological innovations to reduce dependency on fossil fuels and improve living conditions. Therefore, our primary objective is to bring reliable and clean electricity where it is needed most, throughout the Small Island Developing States (SIDS.) That’s why we are so excited to highlight our smart solar partnership with Fiji’s retail giant, Jack’s of Fiji. It is exciting to report their daily operations are now powered by Fiji’s most abundant resource, the sun!
Vision Energy Solutions Introduces the First Intelligent Solar System to Fiji
We recently installed a large commercial rooftop high-tech smart solar PV (photovoltaic) project system atop Jack’s of Fiji’s distribution center in Legalega, Nadi. Soon, we anticipate other companies will notice our successful collaboration and realize solar truly is an economically advantageous and green investment.
The 152 solar panel system has a capacity of 50kWp and will generate about 65,820 kWh in its first year of service. In only one year, that’s the equivalent of fossil fuel-generated energy savings of:
- 183,145 car kilometers driven
- 19,824 liters of gasoline
- 1,900 8kg household propane tanks
- 23,081 kg of coal burned
- 108 barrels of oil
- 46.5 metric tons of C02
With a 25-year expected lifespan the system will have an incredible positive impact and is expected to pay for itself in about 5 years. That means the company will not only protect itself against the inflationary rise in electricity rates, but they will also enjoy free clean electricity after the short payback period.
What makes this large commercial project leading edge is the fact that it utilizes the first-ever intelligent inverter system installed in Fiji. The solar PV system is powered by world-class modern inverters and power optimizers. The inverters are the “brain” of the system and manage production. Therefore, the inverter selection is critical for the long-term financial performance of a PV system, as it can maximize energy production and reduce lifetime costs.
The intelligent inverter solution has changed the way power is harvested and managed in solar systems worldwide. Traditional string inverter technology is limited by the system’s weakest panel’s power output. The intelligent system eliminates the risk of shade or equipment failure on one panel impacting the output of the entire structure.
Intelligent Inverter Technology to Eliminate Limitations in Traditional Inverter Systems
The smart inverter technology VES utilizes surpasses conventional PV systems in many ways:
Independent Panel Energy Production: This cutting edge technology enables each panel in the system to produce power independently. Traditional technology is limited by the lowest-performing module (due to shade or malfunction), which affects the overall power generation capacity of the entire string of panels. With this innovative technology, each module can produce power at different levels making it a more efficient system.
Increased Energy Yield: Because the system is not maxed out by the energy production of the lowest producing panel, the system as a whole produces more energy.
Higher ROI: The increased overall energy yield is a key feature in this technology, making it the best solution to ensure higher returns on investment. Simply put, the more kilowatt-hours of electricity the system produces, over the same period of time, the higher the return on the initial capital investment. Producing more kWh for the same initial investment cost-effectively eliminates inflationary risk and reduces the investors’ electricity rates ($/kWh.)
Ease of Maintenance: Because the panels produce energy independently, it is also easier to isolate and repair individual panels if there is damage or a malfunction.
Efficient Design & Space Utilization: The smart inverter technology allows a wide variety of string lengths from a minimum of 6 modules—up to a maximum of 5,250 watts—with no requirement for matching string lengths. The size and layout of an array is no longer defined by electrical constraints. Shaded modules do not bring down the entire string performance, and module size, bin, and type can be mixed in any orientation or tilt.
Precise Performance Tracking and Troubleshooting: Full visibility of system performance panel by panel. Online monitoring allows 24/7 system monitoring and remote troubleshooting if there is an error.
Lower Operations & Maintenance Costs: The ability to monitor and reset the system remotely means fewer trips to the project site. Detecting issues early will reduce downtime and allow for minor maintenance upkeep to be done quickly ensuring longer and better-performing equipment.
Higher Safety: A built-in module-level safety feature that minimizes electrocution risk. During installation or when the grid or inverter is shut down (including during maintenance), power optimizers are designed to automatically switch into safety mode, in which the output voltage of each module will be reduced to 1V. String voltage will be maintained below risk levels. PV modules typically have an output voltage of 30-60V. When connected in a string in traditional technology, voltage can reach 600-1500V, which can be dangerous to installers during system installation, maintenance personnel during O&M, and first responders during an emergency.
Ease of Expansion: Smart inverter cost 40% less than tradition making replacement cheaper. Replacement panels do not need to match panels available at system installation, therefore there is no need to keep an inventory, simply purchase what is available in the future. Likewise, newer versions of power optimizers can be used in the
same string with older models.
Being socially and environmentally responsible Jack’s Group of Companies, Group Commercial Manager, Mr. Ronald Nair expressed his motivations for investing in solar, “It seemed like the right thing to do for our employees, customers, and nation, not to mention the planet!
Consumers have a lot of choices and being a socially and environmentally responsible company is one of Jack’s competitive differentiators. Tourists and locals will hopefully notice and appreciate our efforts to invest in clean energy production.”
Solar electricity now competes directly with fossil fuel-based energy sources. VES is proud to power Fiji sustainably, by bringing advanced solar technologies to the region. Let’s discuss your unique project requirements to determine if smart solar makes sense for you!
Mr Srinath Dolage
Business Development Manager
Vision Energy Solutions