Vunabaka resort is typical of many of the projects that we work on, in that years worth of work have gone into it before anything seems to happen. This is a project that is at the cutting edge of solar PV projects and uses the best technology sourced from all over the globe.
In 2012 we were approached by some developers who wanted to build a beautiful resort in Fiji, but like many Pacific islands there was the major issue of electricity. Their solution at that stage was to do multiple off grid homes and lodgings all with their own solar power system and battery back up. While great in theory, we quickly realised that there were major inefficiencies in doing it this way and so came up with a suggestion modelled off what we had done in Tokelau but with a twist.
PowerSmart solution was to create a minigrid using multiple solar arrays all feeding into a single centralised battey bank that powered a reticulated grid that all the buildings were connected to. There a number of advantages to doing this:
- With multiple arrays orientated in different directions a more constant supply of electricity is possible throughout the day
- A centralised battery bank helps to eliminate inefficiencies compared to having individual batteries on each home
- Because all the electricity generated by the solar PV is fed into a centralised pool of electricity, individual houses on the development can be charged for electricity. This gives the developer or manager of the resort another income stream.
In October 2016 Stage One was completed with over 300kW of solar PV panels and 2 Megawatt hours of Tesla industrial battery storage (Tesla powerpack). This is all backed by PowerSmarts own proprietary monitoring and control programme which ensures a constant supply of electricity to the grid.
This project also won 'Best Solar PV Off Grid Implementation' at the annual SEANZ (Solar Electricity Association of New Zealand) Awards in November 2016