Guernsey Electricity and Guernsey Post have announced plans for the installation of the largest solar array in the Channel Islands. The project will help both companies reach significant milestones in their ambitions for the generation and use of renewable energy.
The new solar array will be approximately 200kW in size and will produce around 200,000 kWh of electricity each year. The recent success of the solar PV array at the power station site means Guernsey Electricity is well placed to work with Guernsey Post on delivering this important project for the Island.
The solar array will generate the equivalent amount of energy required to power Guernsey Post’s entire fleet of vehicles, at a time when the company is making significant strides towards conversion to a fully electric fleet.
Boley Smillie, Chief Executive of Guernsey Post explains: “I am very excited about the significance of this partnership with Guernsey Electricity. The prospect of an entirely electric vehicle fleet, the elimination of exhaust emissions and helping generate our vehicle energy requirements by solar power is within our grasp, it is no longer just an aspiration.”
By the end of 2018 Guernsey Post will have 40 electric vehicles in its delivery fleet, with a commitment to increase this number to 80 by the middle of 2019, at which time all the vehicles used for delivery within the Bailiwick will be electric.
“Our investment in electric vehicles has been a real success. Both maintenance and running costs are significantly lower than that of the fossil fuel alternatives. The positive impact on the environment is also significant. To put this into perspective, the benefit of an electric vehicle fleet rather than diesel means we will avoid producing more than 150 tonnes of carbon a year,” added Boley Smillie.
The proposed project follows a similar installation at Electricity House, Guernsey Electricity Ltd head office, which was completed in March 2018, demonstrating that the use of commercial scale solar PV arrays works in the local market.
The installation at the postal headquarters will be twice the size of the recently installed solar array at the power station and forms part of Guernsey Electricity’s plans to install distributed renewable energy generation systems on the network.
The energy transition from hydrocarbon fuels to renewables is gathering pace and Guernsey Electricity is ensuring the Island’s electricity infrastructure and market is ready to meet the change.
Alan Bates, Chief Executive at Guernsey Electricity said, “We believe that all islanders should benefit in an equitable way from developments in the energy sector. This commercial scale solar array will feed into the Island’s network, so everyone can benefit from a higher percentage of renewable energy. Not everyone can afford to install their own array, but through this partnership with Guernsey Post we are enabling the island to diversify its energy supply on behalf of all islanders.
“The cost of large scale solar PV is now comparable with our other generation and provides additional security and independence of supply for the island and our customers.”
Guernsey Electricity supports embedded generation of electricity, particularly from renewable sources, and it is awaiting a revised energy policy to provide further direction to facilitate the connection of large and small renewable generators to the network.
Subject to planning approvals, there will be a tender process and it is hoped that the installation of the solar array at Guernsey Post will take place in the first half of 2019.