The Aldabra Atoll, which is a Ramsar and World Heritage Site, is now home to Seychelles’ largest off-grid renewable energy system. This milestone in providing sustainable energy for an entire island community is the result of a four year, €500,000 project undertaken by Seychelles Islands Foundation (SIF) which manages the atoll and its research station.
The new system is a solar-diesel hybrid complemented by an improved efficiency diesel generator, which will require far less fuel and will only be used when the solar supplied batteries are discharged by uninterrupted cloudy weather for several days.
This system, commissioned in April 2012, fully supports the research station (including air-conditioning of six offices, a scientific laboratory, and freezing facilities in the island’s shop) and the 12 staff houses. It also means that the traditional diesel generators which had in the past required fuel to be shipped to the remote island of Aldabra in barrels (which were delivered to the beach and rolled to the storage area), creating a risk of diesel leakage onto the atoll as well as very high transport costs – is now significantly reduced.
The new system includes a web-based monitoring programme. System performance and electricity consumption are continuously recorded (new system includes a web-based monitoring programme) and are displayed on a homepage allowing close system monitoring and better maintenance and troubleshooting assistance. The success of this project demonstrates that the switch to sustainable energy can be achieved even on the most remote and inaccessible of islands. The Aldabra atoll is 400 km from the nearest mainland and is the world’s second largest coral atoll.