Vunabaka Project Wins Award For Solar System

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Vunabaka Resort project is located on the Mamanuca Group island of Malolo and is home to the largest off grid Solar PV for the whole of the South Pacific.

This state of the art reticulated solar PV mini grid is currently home to 20 Tesla industrial Powerpack batteries making it equal in size to the recently completed Vector Energy’s battery storage in Glen Innes, Auckland.

Designed and installed by PowerSmart, the Vunabaka project recently won Best Solar PV Off Grid Implementation at the Solar Electricity Association of New Zealand (SEANZ) Awards.

The award cements them as one of the leading solar integration companies in New Zealand.

“Receiving this award is great recognition for a leading solar solution for Vunabaka that the team at PowerSmart are exceptionally proud of,” said Director of PowerSmart, Dean Parchomchuk.

Vunabaka Resort is a brand new development and when finished the resort will consist of over 70 residential homes and a 6 star resort known as ‘Six Senses Fiji.’

Unlike many resorts that use diesel generators for their power needs, Vunabaka commissioned New Zealand’s leading solar power integrators PowerSmart to design and install a state of the art reticulated off grid solar and battery mini grid.

PowerSmart was able to match technology development with the construction program and the result, is a world leading best in class sustainable electricity system.

The Vunabaka project is a little different to the previous off grid projects done by PowerSmart because it uses the very latest commercial lithium ion battery technology from Tesla – The Powerpack.

Compared to the older style lead acid batteries the Powerpacks can be fully discharged and come with a 10 year warranty.

The system is also easily scalable which will allow for the addition of more batteries in the future.

The system went live in October and by the time it is finished in July 2017 will have 4 Megawatt hours of Tesla Powerpack Lithium Ion battery storage and 1 Megawatt of solar PV, making this the largest off grid system for the South Pacific.

Currently built and connected are staff quarters, commercial kitchen, boat shed, fresh water supply and several multimillion dollar residences.

Mr Dean said: “Due to recent price drops in both solar PV panels and lithium ion batteries it is now cheaper to install a solar PV solution when compared to using diesel generators.”

PowerSmart also won a second award for the Best Solar PV Grid Connected Implementation for New Zealand’s largest solar PV installation (411kW) on Yealands Estate Winery in Blenheim.

This install accounts for around 30% of all the wineries power needs and is enough solar to power 70 New Zealand homes.

BY FARZANA NISHA , SUVA