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Solar+storage in Dutch Caribbean island: 2,000 inhabitants will enjoy up to 10 hours of diesel-free every day

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Saba Electric Company, sole supplier of electricity to the Dutch Caribbean island of Saba, celebrated as the island ran on 100% solar for the first time ever this month, with the switch-on of a solar-plus-storage microgrid.

Diesel generators were switched off as a 2.3MWh battery energy storage system went into action. On Wednesday 6 March from 3pm to 5pm, Saba Electric Company said, the generators powered down, reducing the usual noise pollution to nothing.

Although the diesel was needed again to cover a shortfall overnight, by 8am the next morning, the island was running on solar once again. Under “ideal weather conditions”, the utility said, nine to 10 hours of energy demand for the island’s 2,000 inhabitants could be covered by the installation.

The energy storage system was supplied by PV inverter company SMA’s subsidiary SMA Sunbelt Energy, while the solar portion of the project was delivered by Dutch PV project developer Ecorus. Saba has two PV parks, which were expanded up to 2MWp capacity in its latest expansion phase.

SMA Sunbelt Energy is both turnkey provider of PV hybrid and energy storage system projects and a component supplier for off-grid system projects. For the SEC battery energy storage project, while SMA supplied the whole system, the company emphasised the role of its Sunny Central Storage 2200 inverter, which is connected to the medium voltage grid, as well as its SMA Hybrid Controller, which can control the switching off of diesel generators without compromising grid stability, the company claimed. The battery system can also smooth out even milliseconds of gaps in solar production due to cloud cover.

(Source: PV-Tech, By Mr Andy Colthorpe)

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