Maldives Initiates Implementation of Solar Battery-Diesel Hybrid Systems

This latest move comes as a part of the Preparing Outer Islands for Sustainable Energy Development (POISED) project, which goals to help the country cut down its dependence on diesel and focus on tapping solar power

January 30, 2020. By News Bureau

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the environment ministry of Maldives have begun to execute solar battery-diesel hybrid systems in 48 islands out of the 160 inhabited islands of the island nation.

This latest move comes as a part of the Preparing Outer Islands for Sustainable Energy Development (POISED) project, which goals to help the country cut down its dependence on diesel and focus on tapping solar power.

The main objective of the POISED project is to transform the existing diesel-based mini-grids into hybrid renewable energy systems on the 160 inhabited islands out of which projects on 48 islands have already been commissioned. The POISED project has been achieving its aim by investing in solar PV power projects, battery storage systems, energy management systems, efficient diesel generators, and distribution grid upgrades aimed at fostering the growth of renewable energy in the island nation.

The POISED project was sanctioned in 2014 and has been co-financed by $55 million in grants from ADB and $50 million loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB).

The $55 million grant from the ADB includes $38 million from the Asian Development Fund, $12 million from the Strategic Climate Fund (SCF), and $5 million from the Japan Fund for the Joint Crediting Mechanism (JFJCM).

Speaking on the POISED project, director of ADB’s energy division for south Asia, Priyantha Wijayatunga, said, “The POISED project—one of the largest energy sector interventions in the Maldives—will introduce sustainable energy in the outer islands as well as help reduce the cost of energy, minimize CO2 emissions, achieve considerable fuel savings, and reduce the burden on the government budget.”

It is important to note that the Maldives is the first country in South Asia to accomplish 100% access to electricity. All the settled islands have been generating electricity from diesel-based grid systems which are old, expensive, and sometimes unreliable. This made the nation heavily reliant on oil imports and also made its carbon emissions per unit of electricity one of the highest in the region. Generating electricity from diesel is a costly affair, and it requires subsidies from the government of over $40 million a year. In this light, the installations of the solar battery-diesel hybrids acquire more importance as it would reduce the cost of power generation a great deal as compared to the existing options.

Presently, 7.5 MW of solar projects, 5.6 MWh of battery storage systems, and 11.6 MW of energy-efficient diesel systems have already been installed in the island nation as a part of the project. The up-gradation of the grid systems is also a part of the project.

The project is targeting to attain the target of 21 MW of solar PV installations, and this would provide to an annual demand of 27,600 MWh and would also lead to a drop of CO2 emissions by 19,623 tons annually.

Presently, all the projects under the ADB for SCF have been installed, whereas projects under JFJCM are still under progress. The disbursements of funds under the EIB funding have commenced, and it will be used for the remaining smaller islands.

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