The project « La Ferme - Bambous Solar Photovoltaic Power Plant » is a 15.2 MW solar photovoltaic power plant located in Eau Bonne, Bambous (Mauritius). It involves the setting up of 60,800 photovoltaic (PV) solar panels to produce electricity, which is then exported to the national grid. Registered under the Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS) and also under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)’s Clean Development Mechanism scheme, the project generates certified emissions reductions (CER) and aims to cut down 222 000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions over the first 10 years crediting period. Parts of the CERs are kept by promoters for the ethiCarbon Afrique® initiative, so that they can be used for ethical and solidarity purposes.
According to statistics from the Mauritian Government , around 86% of Mauritius’ total primary energy requirement (around 15MWh) was met from imported fossil fuels, mainly coal and fuel oil, with significant costs. Energy imports accounted for around 18% of the country’s total imports bill, at 31 146 million Rs, or around 780 000 euros. Considering the continuous increase in energy demand (peak power demand in 2014 was up 1.2% compared to previous year, at 446 MW), alternative sources must be developed to limit further imports and increase in greenhouse gases emissions.
In terms of electricity alone, total generation increased by 1.8 % to 2 937 GWh, produced at 80 % from non-renewable resources despite significant progress in photovoltaic production.
Thanks to this project, Mauritius has to produce less electricity from imported coal or heavy fuel oil, which are non-renewable sources of energy. Concretely, this reduces the associated greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 22 000 tons CO2 eq. on average per year.
This project allows to generate yearly certified emissions reductions (CER) credits under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). Credits are owned by Aera Group (formerly ecosur afrique) and were only partially sold to anticipate for the launch of ethiCarbon Afrique® (the global initiative ethiCarbon® was launched in 2012), with the aim to go beyond compensation by acting concretely in favour of ethical and solidarity purposes. These certified credits will be used within the framework of the initiative and, in accordance with UNFCCC rules, yearly audits are conducted to determine the exact number of CER generated.
A vector of development for Mauritius With 60,800 solar PV panels, the project supplies 2 % of the Mauritius energy mix or the equivalent of 35.000 households demand coverage. It reduces the country’s global energy bills and enables spending in other priority sectors, especially related to basic services. The company Sarako also employed around 300 local technicians and local workers during the installation, testing and start-up of the solar plant. Since the commissioning, the company relies on 20 permanent full time staff on-site. It includes all levels of qualifications among which administrative and management resources, technicians in charge of maintenance and security staff to protect the site.
This project goes beyond mitigation and fully enters within the vision of ethiCarbon Afrique®: it is fully ethical, solidarity based and participates to alleviate poverty through employment, building capacity programmes, support to local communities and improved access to clean energy. It fits national development priorities, and skills and knowledge are transferred so that the local population become the actors of their own development.
From an economic perspective, this project generates savings in the long term as well as annual certified emissions reduction. Parts of the CERs are sold through the ethiCarbon Afrique® initiative, and the funds generated will be used to fund social needs such as education, building capacities programme, awareness raising, transfer of technologies, scholarships, etc. This innovative approach, to which anyone can contribute, is a key aspect of ethiCarbon Afrique®.
This type of project is unprecedented in Mauritius and supporting the development of this industry will assist building capacities in the country, through advanced technology transfer from industrialized countries. Prior to the project, the total national installed solar PV capacity amounted to 2.71 MW which is less than 0.5% of Mauritius energy mix. The project, by its ambition, is thus a real technological breakthrough for the island, multiplying by four the solar installed capacity.
The 60,800 solar PV panels are of high-efficiency poly-crystalline silicon solar cells with high transmission and tempered glass. Such technology is a first for Mauritius and the project acts as a pioneer and vitrine in the region. The joint-Venture Tauber-Solar/Sarako is projecting new investments in the field of solar energy in Mauritius, and the country also committed to the development of significant renewable energy capacity. Finally, it should be reminded that this project was initially designed for the Island of Madagascar , with therefore a high potential for duplication.
Project description: https://cdm.unfccc.int/Projects/DB/TUEVSUED1269612670.69/view
Aera Group: http://aera-group.fr/gallery/sarako/
Credits Pictures: Sarako