Construction of Seychelles floating solar PV plant has been suspended due to Covid-19 pandemic, an official from Seychelles Energy Commission has confirmed
Tony Imaduwa said due to the COVID-19 situation, issuance of the notice of intended award was delayed as the selected bidder will not be able to meet all the conditions set.
Part of the condition requires the bidder to be in the country to finalise the technical design of the plant. But this has not taken place because of the travel restrictions to Seychelles.
“It is a crucial stage of the process. Maybe there will be some cost implications but the project is based on an Independent Power Producer (IPP) model where the IPP will have to finance, design, construct and operate the plant and sell electricity at a fixed rate over a period of time,” Imaduwa explained.
The tender for the project was issued in 2018 which required a bidder to develop, finance, own and operate the project for a period of 20 years.
The Seychelles floating solar PV plant in Africa will be located in the Lagoon le Rocher, a shallow body of water separated from the sea by the Providence Industrial Estate, on Mahé Island.
The CEO said that now that the notice of intended award has been issued, the successful bidder Quadran will have around five months to meet the conditions set before construction can start.
“It is a crucial stage of the process. Maybe there will be some cost implications but the project is based on an Independent Power Producer (IPP) model where the IPP will have to finance, design, construct and operate the plant and sell electricity at a fixed rate over a period of time,” said Imaduwa.
The project is Seychelles’ first independent power producer meaning the private sector will be responsible for designing, financing, building, and operating the power plant, selling electricity to the national grid at a predetermined price for 25 years.
Quadran was selected from a competitive process based on the lowest rate to sell electricity generated from the PV plant to the local Public Utilities Corporation which is 9.5 US cents.
The power purchase agreement is scheduled to be signed in the next few months and the construction starting soon after.
Once installed and running, the Seychelles floating solar PV plantthe utility-scale floating solar PV system is expected to contribute around 5.8 GWh annually. This will contribute to a reduction in fossil fuel importation which translates to savings in foreign exchange for the country.
The energy from the new project is also expected to equate to 1.6 percent of the Seychelles’ energy target set for 2030.
Imaduwa said that the system “is an innovative way of addressing our land constraint and demonstrates the country’s commitment to combat climate change.”