USP joins the ranks of Fiji’s independent power producers
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Members of the FEA Network team with MSc student from USP, Mr Aman Singh (2nd from right) and Head of SEP, Dr Atul Raturi (3rd from left) after the successful tests were carried out on the grid-connected PV system.
A 45 kilowatts grid-connected Photovoltaic (PV) system - a joint project by the Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and the University of the South Pacific is now a fully fledged contributor to the Fiji Electricity Authority (FEA) grid.
Located at the University’s Marine Campus in Suva, the project is the largest of its kind in Fiji.
The full set of tests requested by FEA was successfully completed with the final check on the anti-islanding criterion made on 3 June, 2012. This was to ensure that the grid-coupled inverter does not continue to operate in cases where the utility grid has been switched off, cut off or the distribution lines have been damaged. Once this happens, the grid-tied PV system should shut down automatically within a couple of seconds.
Head of School of Engineering and Physics (SEP), Dr Atul Raturi confirmed that the system had also passed the harmonics, frequency and voltage tests according to FEA standards and is now fully connected to the national grid.
The PV electricity generated from the system is first supplied to the Marine Campus and any excess power is exported to the FEA grid.
Dr Raturi said that the system is continuously monitored in terms of its yield and performance ratio. He added that FEA is in the process of developing protocols for grid-connected PV systems and the USP solar system will be a key contributor to provide the critical data required.
“The system is being used as a research tool where we are looking at the effects of various parameters such as temperature, partial shading and humidity levels on the system performance and monitoring its interaction with the grid,” he explained.
Although the weather has not been so favorable for the solar system over the past few days, Dr Raturi mentioned that the system has been performing as expected.
Dr Raturi elaborated that the successful completion of tests on the PV system will encourage other organisations to invest in PV technology which is fast becoming more affordable, especially in the long term.
He further highlighted that USP will develop training programmes for regional grid-connected PV installers and designers to help sustain the renewable energy sector in the region.
The PV system was launched earlier this year in February.