Matiu/Somes renewable energy system

Turbine and solar panels on Matiu/Somes Island.
Turbine and solar panels on Matiu/Somes Island

The renewable energy is a full three phase system consisting of a 6kW wind turbine and 3.8kW worth of solar panels. It is designed to provide nearly all of the islands energy requirements in any weather. 

The turbine will produce energy in all winds over about 5 knots, a very gentle breeze. It is the only turbine that will continue to generate energy in very high winds, in fact the windier the better for the turbine. At 24 knots it is producing full power and continues to do so at all higher wind speeds controlled by the ability of the blades to cone back and reduce the area of the blades. 

For the few days that Wellington does not have any wind (about 10% of the time) there is usually bright sunshine and the solar array produces substantial power. For the occasional day with neither wind nor sun there is a battery bank that will provide about one day of power to the island and which will then be recharged once the sun or wind returns. On a sunny windy day there can be an excess of energy on the island.

In addition Industrial Research Ltd have added their HyLink hydrogen plant into the power system. This allows any surplus energy produced to be converted to hydrogen gas and stored until times when the batteries might need a top up because of light wind and cloudy conditions.

The diesel generator is still available for emergencies and will start automatically if there is not sufficient power available. With four sources of power available this is a much more reliable system than relying on generators alone.

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