FEA is willing to buy electricity from grid-connected systems through net-metering, and has the legislations in place to do so, a workshop held at USP last Friday (16 March 2012) revealed.
The Project DIREKT-organized workshop on the economics, application and legislation relating to renewable energy was attended by 55 participants from four government departments, three regional agencies, the private sector and members of the public. Speakers came from the USP, SPC, the Pacific Power Association (PPA), the UNDP and FEA.
The workshop heard that net-metering policies and legislations were already in place in American Samoa, Rarotonga (Cook Islands) and Palau, with Yap and the Federated States of Micronesia in the process of preparing the policies. It was also revealed that the provision had been highly successful in Rarotonga, where the island state was already reaching the required capacity in the span of two years due to surplus power sales to the grid.
The workshop comes in the wake of the recent launching of a 45 kW Korean government-funded PV system at USP's Lower Campus. According to Head of School of Engineering and Physics Dr. Atul Raturi, this system will provide a demonstration of the feasibility of solar energy as an integral part of Fiji's grid-electricity system. However, issues with the supply of electricity to the grid by such independently-owned systems were still being worked out.
Project Supervisor Dr. Anirudh Singh said the workshop played a pivotal role in enabling the use of solar energy, and in particular grid-connected solar PV systems in the region. There were economies of scale that had to be evaluated. Legislation was required in the use of modern technology in the alleviation of the region's fossil fuel dependency. Many stakeholders had been waiting for the establishment of a proper legislative framework for the introduction of Solar PV systems into Fiji's grid system.
The workshop was centred around evaluating the economics of the use of solar PV systems, and the steps that would be required to facilitate the installation and use of grid-connected PV systems in Fiji. It was revealed that the cost of energy and payback periods of solar systems came down as the size increased. USP's Dr. Sunil Kumar explained that while the solar PV systems might be uneconomical at the present time, the rising price of oil and the steadily decreasing price of solar PV systems would make them cost effect in the future.
FEA's Chief Information Officer Mr. Anand Nanjangud assured the gathering that the utility encouraged and welcomed the prospects of grid-connected solar systems. He pointed out the USP's system was in fact the second one to be installed in Fiji recently, the first being a 12 kW system installed by FRIEND's Fiji was already in operation. But such systems had to undergo careful evaluation before they could be approved. Issues such as the size of the system, its location, the effects of harmonics on the grid and the sustainability of the installations had to be ascertained first.
Contact: Anirudh Singh
or Pritika Bijay