Our MSc Renewable Energy and the Built Environment provides its students with the knowledge and practical skills to make a positive impact within the world of Renewable Energy. One of our Alumni, Tim Kirkpatrick, is applying the knowledge he developed on the REBE course in the idyllic island setting of the Seychelles.
The Seychelles is a group of islands in the Indian Ocean, located just south of the equator. With little variance in the length of days and bright sunshine for the vast majority of the year, the Seychelles is an ideal location for the use of Solar Photovoltaics to generate power. However, when it comes to renewable energy, the Seychelles is still behind the times.
Most of the power generated in the Seychelles, either for the grid systems on the larger populated islands or the smaller outlying island communities, is done by the burning of fossil fuels which have to be imported to the Seychelles. This is problematic in a number of ways, firstly the environmental concern, as fuel oil is a contaminant and causes damage and disruption to wildlife if not properly stored, the second is the cost of buying and importing the fuel oil as well as the problems arising from transporting the fuel to smaller islands. Thirdly, due to the noise and cost of running a fuel generator it can only be used sparingly over the course of the day.
“Solar energy is viewed as something of a black art by some in the Seychelles” says Tim Kirkpatrick, an alumnus of CAT’s MSc REBE and GVI’s Climate Care Director. Tim works to provide education and advice on the effects of climate change, as well as offering consultancy services and the design and installation of off-grid PV systems to communities in the outlying islands. Despite PV’s status as a “black art”, Tim has been able to complete some very interesting PV projects with great results. On a 2012 project on the island of Curieuse, Tim designed and installed a PV array to replace a petrol generator at a cost of $9477, taking into account fuel and generator costs this system paid for itself by March 2014 and over a 25 year lifecycle period will result in savings of over $250,000, the CO2 savings are 7955kg per annum.
Tim is also in the process of planning another project on Cousin Island, an ecologically important site for various birds and marine wildlife. This project has been initiated by Birdlife International and Nature Seychelles and aims to replace the generator with a new PV array, it is intended that this will save around £600 per month which can be used on funding continuing research as well as being a form of ‘silent energy’ which will prevent disruption to the wildlife on the island. The project will also save around 8000kg of CO2 per year. Click here to donate to the project.
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