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Generator Control Unit installed as part of consultancy to restore connectivity at the MUL power station. (MCWLE Photo)

250kW Solar PV System Now Feeding into MUL’s Power Grid

The 250kW Solar PV System which sits atop the government buildings in Shinlands is now contributing to the island’s power supply.

According to an update shared by the Ministry of Communications, Works, Labour, and Energy (MCWLE) which has responsibility for Montserrat Utilities, Ltd. (MUL), a technician has completed the first phase in the consultancy to restore connectivity between several of the systems on island.

In recent months, Montserrat was once again plagued by frequent power outages said to be caused by old and new systems being unable to communicate with each other.

MCWEL said Sean Hartley, of Amandla Engineering Inc. in Tortola, conducted a site survey with MUL from March 24-26, 2022. He submitted a draft report on April 6th, proposing solutions to the generation network, communications, and controls infrastructure.

A MUL technician and Sean Hartley. (MCWLE Photo)

Hartley returned to the island on July 14 to lead the upgrades to the generating assets at the MUL power plant. He worked closely with and provided training for key MUL technical staff to build capability to manage the new system.

The technician left the island on July 25, having successfully completed the first phase of upgrades, according to MCWLE.

“This entailed upgrading the controller for the main medium speed generator and the integration of the newest highspeed generator to the load sharing communications bus of the power plant to give it the capability to run properly in parallel with the other generators. Additionally, the original 250kW solar PV system is again being fed into the grid. The work completed means that MUL now has four out of the five gensets available to it along with a quarter of the solar PV capacity. The fifth generator remains down while MUL awaits replacement parts which have been ordered for it.

“MUL is continuing to work with its partners Salt Energy and Amandla Engineering to finalise returning the solar system to full functionality. This is expected to involve changing out the current SMA hybrid controller/fuel save system to a ComAp Hybrid Controller. This next phase will be completed shortly,” the statement read.

The work completed is expected to provide additional stability to the power generation on the island. It is hoped that residents will experience fewer outages over the coming months.

“With the restoration of a portion of our solar capability and better fuel management we hope to realise along with our customers savings on our bills. This should improve even more once full solar capacity is achieved,” the ministry stated on their Facebook page.

MUL expressed thanks to the Government of Montserrat and the FCDO for financing the consultancy and acknowledged the work of their Electricity Division to keep the plant running.