The placing of all 2,960 solar panels on the frames of Saba Electric Company’s (SEC) second solar park was completed this week. Phase 2 should become operational late February/early March. The installation of the panels was done by sub-contractor Enersado from Portugal, with Ecorus as the main contractor.
Currently, a full clean-up of the solar park, which is located next to the Juancho Yrausquin Airport, is being carried out. Testing on the string cables from the individual panels to the main cables that feed into the inverter building is also being carried out. This is to ensure that the park’s photovoltaic component, the devices that generate electricity directly from sunlight, will be ready for complete system integration.
When the team of the German company SMA Sunbelt Energy comes in early February, they will test the entire system and carry out the reprogramming of the fuel-save control system to have both phases incorporated into the fuel save system to allow for off-grid mode operation. Off-grid mode means that under ideal weather conditions with sunlight, the generators at the power plant can be shut off and the entire island will run on solar energy.
Once Phase 2 has become operational, the complete solar park, including phase 1, on sunny days will generate more than 2.100megawatt power (MWp), or 35 to 40 per cent of the electricity demand.
SEC Managing Director Dexter Johnson explained that preparations were being made to install a container with the inverter at the power plant. The 254 batteries, which will store the surplus energy, have left the Port of Rotterdam this week and should arrive in Saba early February. These additional batteries will be installed in a separate container and have a storage capacity of 2,000kWh.
Sub-contractor Enersado, with the assistance of the Saba company HES Construction, which delivered the concrete, started early November last year with the drilling of the holes and the placing of the metal pilings. The pilings were cemented into the ground. The framework was then attached and the solar panels installed on this structure. Pull tests were carried out and confirmed that the structure is hurricane category 4 proof.
The 11th European Development Fund (EDF) finances the second phase with 3.3 million euros of budget support, while the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate (EZK) provides partial financing. The EZK Ministry also subsidized Phase 1 of the solar park.