Wakatobi Resort Goes Solar0
01 February 2019
Wakatobi Resort will soon be tied into a solar power station that will supply a substantial portion of the property’s electrical power needs. Wakatobi’s efforts to bring solar power to the region date back more than a dozen years.
At that time, resort founder Lorenz Mäder convinced the Indonesian government to establish the region’s first solar power plant on the adjacent island of Tomia (where the resort’s private airstrip is situated). This 75-kilowatt photovoltaic installation was relatively small in scope, but it was a start. Several years later, a second solar installation was added at the village of Lamanggau on Onemobaa, the island on which Wakatobi Resort resides. Once again, Lorenz was instrumental in the process, as he sponsored the flights that brought engineers from the American foundation that evaluated, financed and installed the photovoltaic facility. The same contractor later installed two additional PV plants on Tomia, paid for by private Indonesian investors.
Most recently, and thanks to the continuing efforts and support of Wakatobi, the village of Lamanggau has established an additional kilowatt photovoltaic plant. Lorenz encouraged the village and PLN [the national power provider] to cooperate by connecting the solar installation to the island’s power grid. This enabled the village to sell any excess solar-generated power during the day, and in return, receive generator-produced power during the night. This arrangement is considered more cost-effective and efficient than adding the complexity and expense associated with the use of large battery banks to store excess energy.
Thanks in part to Lorenz’s ongoing work on bringing solar power to the Wakatobi region, Tomia is currently the only island in Eastern Indonesia which is entirely powered by solar power during a sunny day, with photovoltaic plants that collectively produce a megawatt of electricity. This capacity represents a third of the island’s total 24-hours power requirements.
By April of this year (2019), Wakatobi Resort expects to be connected to Tomia’s solar power stations. The staff is working with the national utility company, PLN, to bring grid power to the resort grounds, where it will be tied into the existing power generation system. This solution will allow Wakatobi to take advantage of clean solar energy during the day, draw power from a central generation facility during the night, and still maintain the ability to operate autonomously at full power should the grid experience a temporary blackout. Work on this connection is currently underway.
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