See also: Isle of Eigg
In 2008, the Isle of Eigg became almost totally independent from oil imports from the mainland and from fossil power sources by switching on a unique hybrid system. This pioneering Sunny Island system was designed & installed by Wind & Sun and enabled over 90% of the island’s power to be generated from renewables - ensuring 24 hours energy for the first time to all 46 households, 21 businesses and 6 community facilities on the island.
To further reduce fossil fuel use and because of the success of the initial 10kWp PV array an additional 20kWp PV array was installed in 2011.
New PV System
Following the success of this, the islanders decided to add more PV’s which Wind & Sun installed in July 2013 – bringing the total PV contribution on Eigg to just over 50kWp.
The new 22.5kWp PV array uses 90 x REC Solar REC 250PE 250Wp PV modules connected to 3 x SMC-7000HV inverters. The PV arrays are mounted on Schletter PVMax ground mounting frames.
The PV system’s performance is being remotely monitored using Sunny Webbox & Sunny Portal.
Successfully Powering The Island
The life for the people has changed dramatically. They now can enjoy the luxury of modern living by using almost only renewable power sources. This unique system is entirely stand-alone and almost all the energy is made locally.
The system has now been running almost seamlessly for over 5 years and has proved that large scale off-grid applications are possible and that photovoltaic power can give an extremely productive valuable contribution, even in the north of Scotland.
Although the island population and loads are constantly increasing, the integration of new power sources such as additional PV has enabled sufficient renewable power to be provided to this growing community. Further steps to upgrade the system are under consideration.
In addition to the availability of 24hr power one of the greatest benefits is the reduction in diesel used to generate electricity. Fuel consumption has been reduced from 51,000 litres to 7,800 litres per year. This is a total saving of 85 %. Depending on the household or business, costs are between 25 % and 40 % now compared to before the electrification scheme. In addition, they no longer have noise or maintenance issues.
The newly installed PV array will further reduce this fuel consumption, increase reliability and reduce costs even more.
When Wind & Sun first proposed and installed the system nothing quite the same had ever been achieved. The success of this system has since led to many more similar systems for remote communities around the world. Elements of it are now being adopted to help with the challenge of integrating increasing amounts of renewable energy onto the mainland grid through energy storage and load management.