Africa’s first utility scale, private sector financed floating PV project is entering its next project phase. The plant will be in the Lagoon le Rocher, a shallow body of water separated from the sea by the Providence Industrial Estate on Mahé Island, 4 km from Seychelles International Airport. The site is expected to have a capacity of 3.5-4 MW.
As the first large-scale floating installation, the plant could open the floodgates for the technology in Africa. Floating solar’s potential, as calculated by the World Bank, is impressive and numerous companies are working to optimize the technology.
Co-location with hydropower dams is an approach likely to be popular as the necessary grid connection and power electronics are already present. Deploying floating PV on just 10% of the continent’s water surfaces would result in more than 1 TW of solar generation capacity.
The Seychelles Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change and the nation’s Energy Commission launched the scheme. “Bidders are required to submit their full technical and financial proposals in September 2019, with an expected tender award in November 2019,” stated the announcement. “Construction is expected to start soon thereafter with the project becoming operational in 2020.”
The winning bidders will finance, design, build, own and operate the plant and the electricity will be sold to the Public Utilities Corporation at a fixed tariff under a 25-year power purchase agreement.
“This innovative project represents a groundbreaking step forward for island nations and other regions with limited land available for solar development,” said Fiona Wilson, senior regional manager at the Clinton Climate Initiative. “Floating solar photovoltaic energy holds immense potential for islands, and our partners in Seychelles are demonstrating true leadership in addressing the global climate and energy crisis.”