Amsterdam-based renewables developer Photon Energy Australia has been selected to install the long-awaited solar + energy storage system on the iconic Lord Howe Island. The $11.1 million project, a long time coming after the initial hybrid wind and solar solution fell through, is being funded by both the New South Wales (NSW) Government and the Lord Howe Island Board (LHIB), along with the support of $4.5 million from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).
The installation of a 1.2MWp solar array with 3.2MWh Lithium-ion battery storage and micro-grid will generate and store enough energy to cover more than two-thirds of the island’s energy needs. The integrated solar + storage system is specifically designed for small and remote locations like Lord Howe, situated 600km off the coast of mainland Australia in the Tasman Sea.
Photon Energy was rose to the top of the pack of potential developers because of its local and global experience to design, construct and operate solar farms with micro-grid integration into existing diesel generation.
Despite copious amounts of tropical sunshine, the vast majority of islands in the Asia-Pacific still depend heavily on the expensive logistical nightmare of diesel fuel for energy generation, that, however, is beginning to change, not only in Australia but in places like Indonesia and the Philippines as well.
Michael Gartner, Managing Director of Photon Energy Australia, lauded the microgrid technology as “highly applicable for commercial customers, mines, agriculture, islands and other remote locations to provide power, manage peak loads and reduce energy costs.”
“With a combination of solar and battery storage,” continued Gartner, “Photon Energy is securing the energy future of Lord Howe Island and reducing diesel consumption by 67%…Importantly by transiting the majority of their electricity generation to solar, they will make significant savings by not having to purchase and transport as much diesel.”
Of course, even in a place like Lord Howe Island, integrating a solar solution with the existing diesel Powerhouse ensures the islands’ inhabitants have access to power even on the rare occasions when they don’t have access to the sun.