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Posted July 2022
In May 2022, a major milestone was reached in converting Naitauba Island to solar energy.
A new solar system was brought online which provides electricity for Qaravi, the main village for devotee residents, and the staff residential complex of Ciqomi. These two locations are the largest users of electricity on Naitauba.
Naitauba is committed to developing renewable energy to minimize the island’s environmental impact and help reduce Fiji’s carbon footprint. This means reducing fossil fuel usage to a minimum. Our goal has been to develop solar electric power to entirely replace diesel power on Naitauba except as emergency backup. Energy self-sufficiency also means energy security. Reliance on diesel fuel leaves Naitauba vulnerable to fluctuations in fuel supply and cost, since the outlying islands of Fiji are at the end of a long supply chain.
Everything to do with fuels and other materials depended upon from outside [of Naitauba Island] must be changed into an entirely viable way of doing things. This Island must operate on a survivable basis—self-sufficiency, economy, using systems that are not inappropriately dependent on what is outside, or, if possible even not at all dependent on what is outside.
—Avatar Adi Da Samraj
The new solar system has now provided electricity day and night for the Qaravi and Ciqomi locations for two full months, June and July 2022, with only two hours during that period when backup diesel generators were required (due to cloudiness). The result has been a dramatic reduction in fuel consumption on Naitauba: the new solar system, together with a small one installed previously, have reduced diesel usage by 70%.
When we started planning this system in 2014, off-grid solar systems entailed rooms-full of lead-acid batteries (requiring replacement after 5-10 years) and entire walls covered with inverters (devices that convert direct current from solar panels to alternating current for usable electricity). However, solar technology took a big leap forward between 2014 and 2021, with solar panel outputs rising, prices dropping, and batteries improving. The solar panels we ordered in 2021 produce twice the output at ¼ the price as the 2014 models. The result is more solar power from panels covering less ground space and substantial cost savings. We also acquired four Tesla Powerpacks (lithium ion batteries) with inverters. This equipment is warranted for 10 years and can be recommissioned on site when the batteries eventually need replacement.The system was designed and commissioned by Clay Energy in Suva, Fiji, with the help of Mike Dorsett.
Work will now begin on converting the remaining two other diesel-generator locations on Naitauba to solar power, including the Matrix, the temple complex on the east side of the island.
Naitauba’s new state-of-the-art solar power system will generate carbon-free electricity for many years to come. Naitauba is taking concrete steps to reduce our fossil fuel consumption (and dependency on outside suppliers), reduce emissions of greenhouse gasses, and save money spent on fossil fuels.
This new solar system was funded by the Adidam worldwide membership.