DHYBRID installs microgrids on 26 Maldivian islands to reduce diesel reliance

Maafaru, one of the 26 islands in the Maldives to have microgrids installed. Image: DHYBRID.

Microgrids have been installed on 26 Maldivian islands by DHYBRID, with 3.2MWh of battery storage systems having gone in.

This is alongside 2.65MW of solar capacity, with the microgrids – which were installed on islands on the Shaviyani and Noonu Atolls – forming part of the Preparing Outer Islands for Sustainable Energy Development (POISED) project.

A central monitoring and control system (SCADA), known as the Universal Power Platform, dynamically controls all energy flows in the grid, from the battery inverter to a diesel generator - with the majorty of the Maldives' electricity coming from imported diesel - while also continuously measuring the grid and storage system parameters as well as the load profiles, prioritising solar energy where possible. The diesel generator is therefore only used when the combined power from the PV and storage system is insufficient. These new microgrids are monitored in state-owned utility Fenaka Corporation’s central monitoring stations at its headquarters in the Maldivian capital city of Malé.

Projects such as this one – which is sponsored by the Maldivian Ministry of Environment and the Climate Investment Funds – are of particular importance due to the high proportion of electricity generation through diesel that is consumed in the Maldives resulting in both high emissions and high costs to transport the energy.

PV installations and battery storage units are able to significantly reduce the diesel generators’ run times, helping to tackle those issues. Indeed, a PV installation with a power output of 100kW on the island of Fohdoo supplies around 30% of the island’s electricity, saving around 35,000 liters of diesel a year, with this a prime example of the benefits of these sorts of microgrids cited by DHYBRID.

Reducing the Maldives' reliance on diesel generation is a key part of the POISED project, which is aiming to transform existing diesel-based energy micogrids into hybrid renewable energy systems. In 2020, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Environment Ministry of the Maldives launched a plan to roll out solar–battery–diesel hybrids across 48 islands as part of the project.

Meanwhile, DHYBRID has been developing its SCADA technology over the past few years, announcing in 2018 it had partnered with data intelligence specialist firm QOS Energy to add monitoring capabilities to PV-plus-storage, energy storage and other hybrid plant configurations, with QOS' cloud-based monitoring and analytics platforms added into DHYBRID’s SCADA and controls technologies.

Benedikt Böhm, CEO of DHYBRID, said: "Most of the microgrids in use in the Maldives rely on our technology. We transfer this knowledge to our partners as part of our training programs so that they can continue to operate the installations as efficiently as possible."

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