Solar energy training for Antigua & Barbuda

PV Energy transmits its know-how to strengthen expertise of local partners

The development of a sustainable and clean energy supply on the Caribbean Islands is making great progresses. Particularly the Government of Antigua and Barbuda (GOAB) stands out with the completion of the first phase of 3 MWp sun2live solar PV on the grounds of the V.C. Bird International Airport in early October of a total of 10 MWp, which will be finalized in the upcoming 6 months.

The 3.86 hectare-sized sun2live solar PV installation on Antigua will play a pivotal role in the local governments energy management, as the generated power shall almost entirely cover the energy consumption of the newly build passenger terminal of V.C. Bird International Airport. In fact, it will produce up to 4.645 MWh per annum and therefore save 3.019,25 tons of CO2 emissions per year. The UK-based renewable energy company PV Energy Ltd., a joint venture of the clean energy provider The meeco Group, is realizing this ambitious project. But the airport construction is just one piece in the puzzle of several further sun2live and sun2roof solar PV installations that shall be implemented by PV Energy across Antigua and Barbuda. In this, the installation of top-tier solar energy solutions does not only include the execution of the physical site work, but also the training of the local partners. Hence, PV Energy took the initiative to conduct capacity building workshops for the engineers of The Antigua Public Utilities Authority (APUA) and the Ministry of Energy in order to ensure the correct application and maintenance of the solar systems.

“The sun2live solar PV installation at the airport site is the first of this kind on Antigua and Barbuda”, explains George Kitoudis, Project Manager of PV Energy. “Energy storage is also new to the island. The purpose of this training was to offer our Caribbean partners an insight into the operational properties of energy storage. For the stability of the grid a battery back up system is necessary due to frequency adjustments. The comprehensive training on the role and functioning of the battery back up was essential for the APUA engineers.”

Proving its strong commitment towards its local partners, PV Energy provides the best experts for the trainings. Prof. Dr. Ing. Rico Wojanowski is one of them. The German professor and successful entrepreneur is specialized in the field of design, engineering, procurement and construction of cross-border large-scale energy solution projects. Prof. Wojanowski offered the APUA members the opportunity to exchange deeper technical data. As he is very experienced in the field of battery / storage designs, he will also prepare the terms of references for the storage installations for Antigua and Barbuda.

The agenda of the capacity building workshop included various topics, such as the use of a storage system to improve general grid stability issues, the impact of the renewable energy generation on the grid, the stability and cost efficiency for different hybrid PV power plant models as well as the day-to-day functioning of batteries. Furthermore, PV Energy is currently conducting the hands-on approach of the training for the APUA employees at the airport site, where the operational team is working along with the subcontractors on the ramming and mounting of the structures, the assembly of the modules and the connection of the cables of the PV installations.

As a pioneer for solar power on Antigua and Barbuda, PV Energy is raising and empowering the awareness of renewable energy solutions and encourages the environmental stewardship. Through the capacity building PV Energy demonstrates its full engagement towards the local community and contributes to the modernization and development of the national economy as a result of bringing new employment opportunities and developing local expertise to operate and accurately maintain renewable power sources. Building long-lasting relationships with its partners and sharing its passion and expertise are ongoing efforts in order to ensure a reliable performance and the success of the whole project, but also to boost the professional skills and qualifications of the local population of this society struggling to emerge.