The energy storage company will also establish vehicle-to-grid EV charging station infrastructure on the sparsely-populated islands, off Britain’s south-west coast and will provide ten homes with air source heat pumps and smart water heaters to increase energy efficiency, as part of the project, funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
Moixa and the ERDF say 450 kW of solar capacity will be installed on 70 council homes, public buildings and at a solar farm next to St Mary’s airport, on the main island of the same name. The proposed new capacity will double the amount of renewable energy generation on the archipelago.
Moixa Chief Technology Officer Chris Wright said: “The Isles of Scilly will be a global test-bed for batteries, electric vehicles, and smart heating systems, showing how they can save money for households; enable more clean renewable power; and support efficient, cost-effective energy systems. It will demonstrate the value of technologies that can benefit communities all over the world.”
The project partners say the scheme – one of the last ERDF projects planned before Britain exits the EU in March – aims to help the islands move from a high to a low-carbon economy. It comes at a time when the U.K. government at Westminster has been heavily criticized for its proposal to end export payments for small-scale generators.
Fuel poverty is an issue
The island chain, which also includes Samson, Tresco, St Martin’s and St Agnes, has no natural gas access and relies heavily upon imported fossil fuels and electricity. The project partners say the isolation of the islands means more than 15% of households suffer from an inadequate fuel supply – one of the highest rates in the U.K.
The ERDF is providing £8.6 million for the £10.8 million scheme and as project leader, Hitachi Europe will give £1.4 million. The remainder of the cost will be shared between Moixa, Passivsystem and the Council of the Isles of Scilly.
According to the announcement, the project will help lower the costs of energy by establishing not-for-profit community interest company the Isles of Scilly Community Venture, which will sell the power generated by the solar system and recycle the income to reduce electricity bills for all islanders through a bespoke energy tariff that will be launched this summer.
The project is the first of a series of interconnected schemes which will seek to achieve a low-carbon economy. Other projects include the establishment of wind, wave and tidal power schemes, waste-to-energy resources and the establishment of an internet of things platform to harmonize energy demand and supply. Hitachi will develop the IoT platform, according to the press release announcing the project.
The Smart Islands program will use the resulting data to establish best practice that can be applied on island communities worldwide. By 2025 the community seeks to reduce power bills by 40%, increase its use of renewable energy to 40% and have 40% of the vehicles on its roads electric.